Anzac Day at Gumeracha

Anzac Day at Gumeracha

The town of Gumeracha in South Australia is a small town. It’s the kind of country town, where everyone knows everyone, and everything. The kind of town you walk down the street and say hello to everyone on the way. Putting it simply, it’s a quiet, friendly town.

With a population of only a few hundred in the early 1900s, you can imagine that when the call came in 1914 for men to ‘serve their country’, and the locals joined up, it wasn’t just families affected, but rather the whole town would have felt it … in numerous ways.

For my Anzac Day post this year, I decided to head to Trove, to see what the newspapers had to say about Anzac Day at Gumeracha.

I fully expected to read about commemoration services, and town gatherings and so on, kind along the lines of what the town does nowadays. But what I didn’t expect to find was that they held Fairs or Fetes on Anzac Day. Yes, true. Trove surprises me yet again! But it makes sense when you realise that the town wanted to build a hospital as a permanent memorial to the locals who fought and paid the ultimate price in the First World War, so fundraising was needed.

In 1921 the Gumeracha Fair had stallholders, competitions and a concert …

GUMERACHA. 6 June 1921, The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser, p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article146431159,

GUMERACHA, The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser,6 May 1921, p. 3.
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article146431159

In 1922 the Fair was a “Japanese” theme, complete with a decorated umbrella parade … as this is a long article, I’ve only included a portion of it below. But you can view the full entry on Trove here.

JAPANESE FAIR AT GUMERACHA. The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser, 5 May 1922, p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article147755089

JAPANESE FAIR AT GUMERACHA. The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser, 5 May 1922, p. 2.
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article147755089

In 1923 I found two references to Anzac Day in the newspapers. On the 16th of April 1923, The Advertiser has a brief report of the more formal and solemn part of the day. Unfortunately the printing in the newspaper is really bad as you’ll see from below, so I’ve included the transcription as well …

1923-04-26 - Advertiser, Anzac Day Pt 1

ANZAC DAY AT GUMERACHA. (1923, April 26). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), p. 11. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37307949

ANZAC DAY AT GUMERACHA. The Advertiser, 26 April 1923, p. 11.
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article37307949

ANZAC DAY AT GUMERACHA.
The president of the R.S.A. Colonel C. P. Butler motored to Gumeracha on Wednesday afternoon to open a fete in aid of the local memorial hospital and unveil a roll of honor. Colonel Butler. who [?] [?] by Mr J. B. Randell, M.P. said it was particularly appropriate that he should be called upon to unveil the roll of honor on Anzac Day. It was how ever [?] to unveil roll of honor in memory of those who fell [?] they were[?] prepared at citizens to do their duty and make the sacrifice of those men worthwhile. He was glad they were [?]  [?] at Gumeracha t[?] day for although the returned soldiers [?] that the memory of their departed comrades should live for ever, they did not   desire that Anzac Day should be merely one of mourning. It should be a day of rejoicing as well as of remembrance, and of pride in the deeds of their gallant dead.

While on the 28th of April 1923, The Register goes into detail about the Fair, the stallholders, the concert and football match …

1923-04-28 - Register, Anzac Day

FAIR AT GUMERACHA. The Register, 28 April 1923, p. 14.
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64182616

Through the efforts of the fundraising committee, together with regular working bees, the Gumeracha Soldiers Memorial Hospital was built and was officially opened in 22 July 1922.

In the “Gumeracha District Soldiers Memorial Hospital Diamond Jubilee 1922-1982” book it quotes the following … “one of the first things you see as you enter the door is the Honour Roll for World War I, 1914-18” along with the names as below:

Lieut. T.M. Pflaum
Corp. W.H. Green
Pte. C.C. Ahrens
Pte. L.G. Bennett
Pte. R. Blain
Pte. J. Bronha
Pte. W. Burton
Pte. T.F. Constable
Pte. W.J. Coombe
Pte. G.M. Crook
Pte. B.C. Crouch
Pte. V.P. Crowhurst
Pte. L.W. Fitzsimons
Pte. T.J. Hicks
Pte. W.J. Hodgson
Pte. E. Jeffery
Pte. M. McGough
Pte. J.A. Menz
Pte. R.R. Palmer
Pte. T.G.W. Palmer
Pte. R.H. Pflaum
Pte. V.L. Robinson
Pte. R. Turner
Pte. W.R. Wood

This hopsital still stands today, and looks largely the same as the photo above. It is a testament to the people of Gumeracha that this beautiful memorial was built, and still serves the community today.

I would have liked to have finished this post with a photo of the actual Honour Roll that’s in the hospital, however as I don’t have one as yet (it is on my list of things I must photograph), so instead I shall share the photo of the “Official Part at the Gumeracha District Soliders Memorial Hospital opening in July 1922”.

Official Party at the Gumeracha District Soldiers Memorial Hospital opening, July 1922 Standing L-R: S. Kitto, V. Lee, Rev. Bridgwood, Ben Cornish, Elliott Hannaford, Lyn Dohnt, Mrs W.H. Cornish, Mrs J. Hynes, Mrs T. Tidswell, Mrs Schrader, Mrs Lemmey, Miss Elsa Bridgwood, J.B. Randell, Mrs Ted Clarke, Mrs Rob Moore, Mrs Wood, Mrs Finch, Dr Hall Sitting L-R: Jasper Porter, Jack Hynes, Mrs W.J. Hannaford, Mrs J. Porter, Sir Arnold Moulden, Lady Moulden, W.J. Hannaford, Miss Hall

Official Party at the Gumeracha District Soldiers Memorial Hospital opening, July 1922
Standing L-R: S. Kitto, V. Lee, Rev. Bridgwood, Ben Cornish, Elliott Hannaford, Lyn Dohnt, Mrs W.H. Cornish, Mrs J. Hynes, Mrs T. Tidswell, Mrs Schrader, Mrs Lemmey, Miss Elsa Bridgwood, J.B. Randell, Mrs Ted Clarke, Mrs Rob Moore, Mrs Wood, Mrs Finch, Dr Hall
Sitting L-R: Jasper Porter, Jack Hynes, Mrs W.J. Hannaford, Mrs J. Porter, Sir Arnold Moulden, Lady Moulden, W.J. Hannaford, Miss Hall

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6 Responses to “Anzac Day at Gumeracha”

  1. Fran says:

    Alona, interesting read. I had a look at the Kitto one name study to see if I might be related to the Kitto in the photo as I have not gone back this far myself. Unfortunately the documents from the 1600 are scarce so they are still hunting for evidence. He comes from Cornwall so it is possible. Fran

  2. Jill Ball says:

    Lovely post Alona that is destined for this week’s GAGs.

  3. Nola says:

    A great example of a community’s expression of acknowledgement and appreciation for each of the men lost from the town.

  4. hazel says:

    Just a thought could you e mail the local school who would i presume have done some work on this day .Advise them of your article and ask for a photograph of the memorial.

    • Alona says:

      Thanks Hazel. I do visit Gum from time-to-time so will make a point of visiting the hospital when I’m next up there. 🙂

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