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22 May 2010

Scope of Project

I have been thinking about how to keep the project manageable in terms of numbers (I now have just short of 300 names), but also limiting it to a defined geographical area that makes sense in terms of the pattern of settlement and transport links of the district pre-war.
Due to the key importance of Blackwood Station as a transport hub and the coach services that serviced the surrounding district I have decided that the project will cover the area traced by Main Road from Belair to Coromandel Valley (with a short branch down Shepherd's Hill Road to Eden Hills), Cherry Gardens Road through Cherry Gardens, Ironbank Road through to Upper Sturt and Upper Sturt Road back to Belair, including settlements on either side of those roads. This will include the settlements of Ironbank and Scott Creek but not Dorset Vale or Chandler's Hill. I am looking for an old map to confirm the boundaries of these settlements as they were defined at the time.

Ironbank Methodist Sunday School Honour Roll

On 6 July 1919, Mr George Laffer MP presided over the unveiling of an honour roll at the Ironbank Methodist Sunday School by a Dr Dawkins. The honour roll included the names of all former students of the Sunday School who had served in the First World War. The names were:

Claude Ahrens
Albert Brown
Gordon Brown
Harry Brown
John Carthew
Lancelot Carthew
Alexander Coats
Alick Coats
Arnold Coats
Britton Coats
Charles Coats
Frank Coats
Gilbert Coats
Norman Coats
Reuben Coats
David Davies
Cecil Edwards
Douglas Evans
Frederick Evans
Thomas Evans
Frederick Gates
Henry Gates
Jack Hancock
Charles Hill
Cleveland Hill
John Hill
Rowland Hill
Henry Holland
Percival Holland
Clifford Jacobs
William Batt
Hal Jacobs
William Pole
Herbert Slater
Alfred Uren
William Warland

This information is drawn from an article from page 9 of the Adelaide Advertiser, 11 July 1919.

Sergeant Douglas Evans, MM, CdeG (Belgian) of Upper Sturt

Douglas Evans was a son of David Evans of Upper Sturt. As a boy he attended Sunday school at the Methodist Church at Iron Bank. Before the war he worked as a gardener and lived in Upper Sturt.

He enlisted on 3 April 1916 at the age of 29, and after a period of training in England joined the 48rd Battalion in France in December 1916. During early months of 1917 the battalion rotated in and out of the trenches near Gueudecourt. During 1917, the 48th Battalion fought in the disastrous First Battle of Bullecourt in France in April where the battalion's casualties totalled 14 officers and 421 other ranks. After being thrown in by companies to support the brigade attack at Messines in June, the battalion received reinforcements, and had some rest behind the lines. The battalion's next major action was the First Battle of Passchendaele in Belgium in October, where over half the battalion became casualties. In late October Douglas spent two weeks on leave in England then a stint at the ANZAC Corps training school. After rotating in and out of the trenches during the winter of 1917/1918 with the battalion, Douglas was promoted to Lance Corporal in February 1918. This promotion marked the beginning of a remarkable six months for Douglas.

The 48th Battalion played a crucial part in stopping the German Spring offensive in front of Amiens in late March and early April 1918, and following the attack on Monument Wood in early May, Douglas was promoted to Corporal. The battalion took part in the Battle of Amiens in August 1918, and following that battle Douglas was again promoted, this time to Sergeant, as the battalion helped drive the Germans back to the Hindenburg Line. Douglas was now the Scout Sergeant of the 48th Battalion, responsible for reconnaissance, patrolling and laying of 'jumping off' tapes for attacks. During a spell in mid September 1918, his commanding officer recommended him for a mention in dispatches for his performance as Scout Sergeant, describing him as a brilliant patrol leader who displayed daring and skill especially during night patrols.
Eleven days later the battalion was in the first wave of attacks on the outposts of the Hindenberg Line opposite Bellenglise, after which his commanding officer wrote that he had displayed conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty, untiring energy and disregard for personal safety, which inspired all men working with him. He was subsequently awarded both the Military Medal and the Belgian Croix-de-Guerre for his actions during the period from February to September 1918. He was granted leave in England in early November 1918, but returned to the battalion in France until he started his return voyage to Australia in April 1919. He arrived back in Adelaide in August, and was discharged in September 1919.

He returned to Upper Sturt after the war, and during the Second World War was living in Crafers when he enlisted as a Sergeant in the 4th Battalion of the Volunteer Defence Corps, in which he served until October 1945.

01 May 2010

Trooper Oswald Vincent Pearson of Blackwood

Oswald Pearson was the only son of George and Marion Ann Pearson (nee Gravestock) and was born in Riverton in 1892. After attending school at Rose Park, he joined the firm of Elder, Smith and Co. working for four years at the Adelaide head office in Currie Street before moving to the country. He trained as a wool-classer at the School of Mines and Industries whilst working at head office. He worked in various locations, including Broken Hill, before taking over the management of the Snowtown office in 1914. In that same year, his mother re-married, his father having died some years before. His mother and two sisters lived in Blackwood with Oswald's step-father, James Dawson McLean. After war was declared, Oswald was very active in raising patriotic funds to support the war effort, auctioning goods donated for that purpose on Australia Day 1915.

Oswald had tried to enlist in Broken Hill in 1914, but after moving to Snowtown he successfully passed the medical examination in October 1915 and was allocated to the 14th reinforcements to the 3rd Light Horse Regiment. he embarked at Adelaide on 10 February 1916 on the 'Warilda', but on the voyage from Adelaide to Fremantle he contracted meningitis. He disembarked at Fremantle on 15 February 1916, and was admitted to No.8 Base Hospital at Fremantle, but died four days later.

He was buried in Fremantle cemetery, and his name is inscribed on the Blackwood Memorial, the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial and the Elder Smith honour board at their head office in Currie Street, Adelaide. His name is also inscribed on a plaque in the South Australian Garden of Remembrance, Centennial Park.