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Wednesday, 14 May 2008
Great War, Queensland History, The departure of the Kennedy Regiment
Topic: Gen - St - Qld

Great War

Queensland History

The departure of the Kennedy Regiment


At the outbreak of war, the Kennedy Regiment was mobilised for war service. Being a Militia unit, and thus filled with conscripts, it was not permitted to serve outside Australian territory. The Kennedy Regiment embarked for Thursday Island to defend the wireless station.


Marching over Victoria Bridge, Townsville.

[From: The Queenslander, 22  August 1914, p. 30. ]


The Kennedy Regiment's march through the town and over the Victoria Bridge.


Marching over Victoria Bridge, Townsville.

[Picture by Bill Woerlee. ]


The scene looks a little bit different today. I thought a comparison between August 1914 and August 2005 might be just in order. I took this shot on a similar spot as a comparison. Very little change has occurred at this spot.


Speeches at the Wharf, Townsville.

[From: The Queenslander, 22  August 1914, p. 30. ]


The mandatory speeches to whip the crowd into patriotic enthusiasm. The finale: "God save the King!" This moment was captured here.


Boarding the Ship, Townsville.

[From: The Queenslander, 22  August 1914, p. 30. ]


Getting the troops on board the ship. These are the last few hours of getting the ship ready for sailing. The men on board are calling out to their loved ones and friends final messages. These moments were quite noisy for all concerned. One can only imagine what is going on in everyone's minds. Parents harbour grave fears for their sons while girl friends and wives are unsure as to when they will see the man they care for again. The members of the Kennedy Regiment will be feeling excited at a new adventure but nervous as to the fate that awaits them.


The Ship Embarks, Townsville.

[From: The Queenslander, 22  August 1914, p. 30. ]


As the ship moves into the shipping lane, people follow along for as far as they can go. In the background, the outline from the hills of Magnetic Island look like the bottom of a curtain as it descends upon the final scene.


Further Reading:

Great War, Queensland History

Great War, August 1914

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920


Citation: Great War, Queensland History, The departure of the Kennedy Regiment

Posted by Project Leader at 10:44 PM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 24 July 2010 5:56 PM EADT
Great War, Queensland History, 1st Garrison Battery, Townsville, August 1914
Topic: Gen - St - Qld

Great War

Queensland History

1st Garrison Battery, Townsville, August 1914


1st Garrison Battery on Parade, Townsville.

[From: The Queenslander, 22  August 1914, p. 30. ]

Officers of the 1st Garrison Battery, Townsville.

[From: The Queenslander, 22  August 1914, p. 30. ]


The above photograph is a nice study in the uniforms worn by these men.

The volunteers formations at Townsville were quick off the mark to demonstrate their ability to present a sound defence to see off the lurking forces of the Kaiser. At Fort Kissing Point, located overlooking Cleveland Bay, just behind the Rock Pool on the Strand in Townsville, the 1st Garrison Battery held a public parade.



Further Reading:

Great War, Queensland History

Great War, August 1914

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920


Citation: Great War, Queensland History, 1st Garrison Battery, Townsville, August 1914

Posted by Project Leader at 10:32 PM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 24 July 2010 7:11 PM EADT
Great War, Military Biographies, 35878 Gunner Randolph "Randy" Lycett
Topic: GW - Biographies

Great War

Military Biographies

35878 Gunner Randolph “Randy” Lycett



Rines Mary Lycett


This is a small segment in the life of 35878 Gunner Randolph “Randy” Lycett who served with the 11th Field Artillery Brigade, 42nd Battery.

Lycett puts as his next of kin his daughter Marjory Rines Mary Lycett – it appears a tad bit strange to throw such a weight of responsibility upon a child born on 19 October 1909 at “Glenalvon” Broadway, East Camberwell, and a bare 7 years old at the time Randy enlisted. It starts to make a person wonder as to why this was so.

Randy was born in 1887 at Birmingham, England. His parents moved to Australia where his father set up a successful company called the Vacuum Oil Company at Normanby Road, South Melbourne. As he grew up, Randy’s talent as a tennis player was recognised and by the time he was in his early 20’s, he was a well known Australian tennis player. For cash, he worked as a manager in his father’s company.

In 1908, at 21, he met 23 years old Rines Mary, who lived at Lorne Grove, Camberwell.

The two got along well and in September of that year, the couple were married by the Reverend PJ Murdoch on 16 September 1908 at the Camberwell Presbyterian Church. After their marriage, they moved to at “Glenalvon” Broadway, East Camberwell. They had two children, Marjory, the girl mentioned above, and Ena Carey who was born at the same address on 8 March 1912.

Let’s move forward a couple years to 31 March 1914. Randy’s wife, Rines, took the children on a holiday to Woodend for about 3 weeks. Randy pleaded that work commitments prevented him from joining her. While she was away, Randy availed himself of accommodation with his very good mate, Harold Hunt who had a flat at Bateman House on the corner of William and Little Collin Street. Because Randy had to work long and hard for his slave driving father, he suggested that his dear wife take a further week of holidays. She declined and returned home on 21 April 1914. After this time, Randy would plead late hours to his wife and either stay with his cobber or come home very early in the morning.

By 11 May 1914, the very suspicious wife employed the well known and top Melbourne private detective, Mr John William Balchin, to follow rorting Randy. Like a sleuth from “Cheaters”, Balchin followed Randy for nearly two weeks. He gathered enough evidence to bring Rines Mary in on the end game. Joined by her brother, Rines and Balchin drove by car to the city and parked outside Her Majesty’s Theatre at Exhibition Street for a "Joey Grecco" moment.

Playing at Her Majesty’s Theatre, commencing in April, was the first Australian review called “Come Over Here”, a fantastical review populated by dozens of glamorous show girls. After the show was over, they spotted Randy, Harry and a show girl leave the theatre in together. The three got into a motor car and drove to the Hunt Club Hotel in Little Collins Street. This was a well known theatrical rendezvous where many kept rooms while their shows were on at the various theatres. The room to which they went belonged to the peculiarly named, Cara Domain, a comely damsel with concupiscent capers in mind. After 10 minutes, all three walked arm in arm to the Café Francatelli in Collins Street, where they arrived at 11.50 pm.

It wasn’t until after an elofatime, at about 2.10 am Sunday morning, that they all left the café and walked towards Bateman House, arriving there at 2.20am. They took the elevator to the 3rd floor and entered Room No. 6. At 3.30am, Rines and Balchin and her brother walked up the stairs to Harry’s room.

Balchin knocked loudly.

There was a light showing under the door but there was no response to the knock.

This time Rines knocked and rorting Randy opened the door in a dishevelled state. Through the door, Rines could see a woman’s clothing over the floor with Cara in bed. When Cara saw Rines, she covered her face with her hands.

Rines called out: “You needn’t do that. We have seen you before!”

Then to her husband she said: “ So this is the state of affairs is it?”

In reply, Randy asked: “What’s that got to do with you?”

“It’s got everything to do with me!”

Rines and her companions departed. The marriage had ended. Rines packed up her household and moved with the two children to “Taranaki”, Sims Street, Sandringham where she was living at the time Randy enlisted in the AIF. Her sole means of support was £3 per week.

A happily married man never volunteers to go to war.

Randy had a good war. His tennis skills saw to that. Always a favourite on the General’s circuit, he hardly ever saw the mud of the Western Front but instead saw the grassy courts of Wimbledon on special assignment at AIF Headquarters in London, no doubt assisting the General’s wives with their swing. After the war, Randy toured the US as a tennis pro earning himself a tidy sum to settle down and set up a new life.

Randolf Lycett was nothing more than a self centred fellow who gave little thought to others. It didn’t matter who he hurt with his glib lifestyle, so long as it gave him a laugh and a good time. No thought given to the damaged lives left in his wake.



Further Reading:

Great War, Military Biographies

Great War, August 1914

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920


Citation: Great War, Military Biographies, 35878 Gunner Randolph "Randy"  Lycett

Posted by Project Leader at 7:28 PM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 24 July 2010 7:19 PM EADT
Great War, Queensland History, The Defence of Townsville, August 1914
Topic: Gen - St - Qld

Great War

Queensland History

The Defence of Townsville, August 1914



Out of all the areas of Australia, North Queensland was the most conscious of any external threats. They were the erstwhile recent administrators of Papua and the German colony of New Guinea was just over the border. They truly felt the hot breath of German colonial expansionism. It is not unsurprising that these folk were the first to despatch troops specifically for the purposes of defending the borders of Australia from any German menace.

While land troops did not pose a problem, Rabaul provided a first class harbour and coaling base for German maritime raiders. The subsequent clash with the Emden at the Cocos Islands bears testimony to this circumstance.

So on that basis, to understand the Queensland view of the world, an examination of their response to the declaration of war in August 1914 would be useful, especially considering that it was so different to the rest of Australia.

Townsville was a major military centre even at the time of the Great War.


The first pillar of defence was the Kennedy Regiment.

Here is an extract from the Cairns Museum's commentary on this formation:

The Kennedy Regiment was formed out of the panic that gripped Queensland when it separated from New South Wales in 1859. The new colony suddenly realised that it was entirely responsible for its own defence and could no longer rely on New South Wales for protection against potential invaders. Once again, a voluntary defence militia was used for the defence of Queensland, based on Canadian guidelines. It was based in Townsville, which is why it was called the Kennedy Regiment, as Townsville is in the Kennedy Lands District.

The citizen militia had its critics. One of them was Mr MacFarlane, a member of the Queensland Parliament, who stated that: "Fancy an army like that going forth to meet an enemy who were determined to do some damage to Queensland. Very likely they would fly to the first tree for protection on the approach of the foe".

Despite this pessimistic remark, men of the Kennedy Regiment were sent north to guard the Torres Strait and patrol the wireless station on Thursday Island during the First World War. They included 200 Rifle Club members from the Far North, as far away as Chillagoe. They were so keen that 500 of the 700 volunteers decided to keep going and join the Australian invasion of New Guinea. The official Army wasn't impressed. Most of the men were very young, untrained and under-supplied. They were sent back.



The second formation was the 1st Garrison Battery.

Here is some notes about the formation from FORT KISSING POINT BUNKER TOWNSVILLE, QLD:

Fort Kissing Point was located overlooking Cleveland Bay, just behind the Rock Pool on the Strand in Townsville. It was actually built as a Fort in the late 1800's as a defence against the Russians.

By 1880 a Volunteer Garrison Artillery battery was formed to man two 64 pound guns on wooden platforms that were positioned at the top of the cliffs at Kissing Point in Townsville. These two 64 pound guns are now located at the entrance to the Jezzine Barracks HQ building. In 1888 work began to upgrade the battery position at Kissing Point, Magnetic Island and build a magazine at Brookhill. Two new 6" Mark IV breech-loading guns and two Nordenfeldt ten-barrelled machine guns were installed at Kissing Point by 1891 as part of establishing an operational fort at the site.

In 1905 a new battery command post was built.


There are some good contemporary pix of Fort Kissing Point on this page.



Further Reading:

Great War, Queensland History

Great War, August 1914

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920


Citation: Great War, Queensland History, The Defence of Townsville, August 1914

Posted by Project Leader at 7:25 PM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 24 July 2010 7:27 PM EADT
9th LHR AIF War Diary, 14 May
Topic: AIF - 3B - 9 LHR

9th LHR, AIF

9th Light Horse Regiment

War Diary, 14 May

Pro Gloria et Honore - For Glory and Honour

Regimental March -  Marching Through Georgia



The following entries are extracted and transcribed from the 9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary, the originals of which are held by the Australian War Memorial. There are 366 entries on this site. Each day has entries as they occurred from 1914 to 1919. In addition to the 9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary, when appropriate, entries from the 3rd Light Horse Brigade War Diary and other regiments with the Brigade will also appear. Entries from the unit history, Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924 will also appear from time to time. The aim is to give the broadest context to the story and allow the reader to follow the day to day activities of the regiment. If a relative happened to have served in the regiment during the Great War, then this provides a general framework in which the individual story may be told.


The Diary



Thursday, May 14, 1914

See 4th Military District, South Australia for militia activities.



Friday, May 14, 1915

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Heliopolis Camp, Egypt.

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary -  No entry.

Carew Reynell Diary - No entry.



Sunday, May 14, 1916
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Roadhead, Serapeum.
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - No entry.



Monday, May 14, 1917
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Abasan el Kebir
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Special parade from 0800 to 1000 and 1400 to 1600 to polish bits, stirrup irons and spurs.


Tuesday, May 14, 1918
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Auja Bridgehead defences
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Usual routine digging and wiring.
Very little enemy movement observed.



Wednesday, May 14, 1919
9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Zagazig
9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Received instructions from 234 Infantry Brigade to proceed to Tel el Kebir. Brinkworth, Major TA, [Acting CO] went to Tel el Kebir to choose camp site. A & “C” Squadrons were withdrawn from posts along Zagazig - Belbeis and Zagazig - Ismailia lines. They commenced concentrating on Headquarters.
Shaw, Lieutenant OJ, returned from Cairo.


Previous: 9th LHR AIF War Diary, 13 May

Next: 9th LHR AIF War Diary, 15 May



See: 9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Contents
Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, AIF War Diaries of the Great War, Site Transcription Policy


Further Reading:

9th Light Horse Regiment AIF

Bert Schramm Diary

9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Roll of Honour 

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920


Citation: 9th LHR AIF War Diary, 14 May

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 26 July 2010 10:35 AM EADT

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