"At a mile distant their thousand hooves were stuttering thunder, coming at a rate that frightened a man - they were an awe inspiring sight, galloping through the red haze - knee to knee and horse to horse - the dying sun glinting on bayonet points..." Trooper Ion Idriess
The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre aims to present an accurate history as chroniclers of early Australian military developments from 1899 to 1920.
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Wednesday, 16 July 2008
Kaiser Kalendar for 1915 Topic: Gen - Australia
In any war, personalising the responsibility of the action relating to the foe is part of the propaganda output. Lampooning the Kaiser was an artform vigorously participated in by all antagonists. For the new year of 1915, a calendar was made available to remind everyone that the Kaiser was a madman.
The Dizzy Dream of Demented Willy
This was the type of material available. For Australians at the beginning of 1915, casualties were not an issue. It was simple to lampoon the Kaiser as there was no national bitterness attached to the name. After the Somme in 1916, this all changed. The Kaiser was then portrayed as an ogre with the blood of innocents dripping from his hands. But that was yet to come. At this moment, war was still a big game.
Australian Society, 1899 - 1920, General Items, Movie Advertisements, December 1917 Topic: Gen - Australia
Australian Society, 1899 - 1920
Movie Advertisements, December 1917
The popular entertainment available gives a good indication as to the psychological state of the society. Those stories that resonate the most will be in the greatest demand. The following is a snapshot of the various popular movie advertisements for December 1917 giving a clear picture as to what concerned Australians the most.
Madam Petrova, "To the death"
Miss Petrova was a popular star in Australia. The audiences could not get enough of her films. "To the death" seems to strike the appropriate theme for the era.
Madam Petrova, "The Secret of Eve"
And this was the first of many remakes of this particular movie. Again, Olga Petrova is the leading star of the movie.
Voila Dana, "The Girl Without a Soul"
In competition to Olga Petrova was Voila Dana, although her career was not as spectacular.
Alma Hanlon, "The Great Bradly Mystery "
And the classic who dunnit with the chief suspect being the dupe of someone else.
William Fox presents, "The Spy"
The ultimate movie that stirred the fires of paranoia at home. Anyone could be a spy for Kaiser Bill. This paranoia found expression in many different areas, especially with a multitude of letters sent to authorities pointing out that a neighbour was a spy, especially if that person happened to have a German sounding name.
The popular movies displayed one main theme - the exploration of femininity. This was only natural as the bulk of the audience goers at this time were women. As the war made more demands upon women, the art form of movies explored these aspects which appeared to be very popular themes amongst the public.
Australian Society, 1899 - 1920, General Items, William Willis Snr and William Willis Jr Topic: Gen - Australia
Australian Society, 1899 - 1920
William Willis Snr and William Willis Jr
William Willis Jr
[From: Sydney Mail, 9 June 1900, p. 1358]
This little 6 year old tyke is dressed in the same uniform as his father who recently left for South Africa. It was a father son relationship that lasted through thick and thin.
The son is William Willis, born 1894.
The father was William Willis. When the picture was taken, 1613 Gunner William Willis, 'A' Battery, Royal Australian Artillery departed for South Africa.
And here is a picture of A Battery - Willis is amongst this group - but unfortunately cannot be identified.
"A" Battery in Review.
[From: Sydney Mail, 30 December 1899, p. 1623.]
However, on the day, one could be sure young William could identify his father.
Here is the wharfside farewell at Sydney for "A" Battery. This is Central Wharf seeing the departure of HT Warrigal.
HT Warrigal departing from Central Wharf.
[From: Sydney Mail, 6 January 1900, p. 30.]
That wasn't the end of Gunner William Willis' service. He remained in the artillery as a permanent soldier. The family lived at 19 Comber Street, Paddington, just a quick walk away from Victoria Barracks. Also just a quick walk to Bent Street.
During the Great War, Willis Snr enlisted in the 7th FAB and served in Egypt, Gallipoli and France. He was invalided from the AIF in 1918.
His son, Willis Jr enlisted in the AIF in 1915 and served as a driver with the 5th DAC until his father claimed him for the 7th FAB. He reutned to Australian in 1919.
After the war, we know that Willis Snr claimed a pension in 1932 while Jnr claimed one in 1957.
Australian Society, 1899 - 1920, General Items, Dick Ponsonby from Tamworth Topic: Gen - Australia
Australian Society, 1899 - 1920
Dick Ponsonby from Tamworth
Dick Ponsonby and Captain Nankervis
[From: Sydeny Mail, 29 June 1901, p. 1632.]
While reading through the newspapers, various pictures of people and incidents occasionally appear that sparks curiosity.
For instance, it used to be the fashion to dress young lads up as soldiers - they hadn't heard of Spider Man at that time. Many of the time these young lads come onto the pages of the newspapers of the time. Looking at them leads a person to wonder whatever happened to the fellow.
One young boy featured in the Sydney Mail was Dick Ponsonby from Tamworth. Here is the standard comparative picture taken at the time. He was photographed standing next to Captain Nankervis of the 4th Infantry Regiment who is one of the tallest men around the area standing at about 2m in height.
Harold Richard Ponsonby was born at Tamworth in 1889. His parents were John and Helen Ponsonby. Dick Ponsoby's connection to the Boer War was by way of his uncle. nearby Tamworthat the town of Pillaga, William Richard Ponsonby, a policeman, enlisted as a Lieutenant with Thorneycroft's Mounted Infantry, and rode with "D" Squadron. At Colenso he was Mentioned in Despatches. This is around the time the picture was taken so one can only assume that this is Dick Ponsonby emulating his uncle's activity.
Harold Richard Ponsonby died in an accident in 1908, soon after he turned 19. The picture shows so much hope and ambition. A sad end to a promising life.
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