Terrell, Frederick Leopold

After working as an iron moulder, 25 year old Frederick Leopold (Leo) Terrell was frustrated by the lack of work in South Australia and, enlisted for service for the Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train at Keswick on 27 March, 1915. After several months of training, Terrell embarked from Australia on 3 June 1915 and served with the AIF at Gallipoli, landing at Suvla Bay. He later served with the 12th Field Artillery Battery on the Western front in Europe.

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Avery, Louis Willyama

Louis Willyama Avery was born on July 15, 1891, and moved to Adelaide from Broken Hill for his education. He attended St Peter’s College and later the SA School of Mines, where he studied Engineering. He was working in Broken Hill when war was declared, and he decided to enlist for service in August 1914. He was a member of the 3rd Field Engineers, A.I.F, 1st Australian Division, 3rd Brigade, and landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, 1915. Later in the war he fought in Europe, being awarded a Military Medal in 1917. Following his time in the Dardanelles, Avery was hospitalised suffering from typhoid fever, and letters from his father to military administration show how difficult it was for families in Australia to find out information about the health of soldiers overseas.

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Seager, Alexandrine

In business before the war, Mrs Alexandrine Seager had the administrative and organisational skill required for running the Cheer Up Society, which she founded in, after visiting Morphettville camp to see her son in the Australian Imperial Force in November 1914. With the support of the editor of Adelaide newspaper, The Register, she appealed to South Australian women to join the Society, which aimed to provide 'general comfort, welfare, and entertainment' for soldiers. Initially, they visited camps, arranged entertainments, such as concerts and sent comforts to the front. As the wounded began returning from Gallipoli, they provided comfort and care. From 1915 they were based in a large tent behind the Adelaide Railway Station, which was replaced by the Cheer-Up Hut in nearby Elder Park (opened on 14 November, 1915). The Society had eighty country branches, and a key aspect of their fundraising was the annual Violet Day Appeal (first held on 2 July 1915). She was also instrumental in the foundation of the South Australian Returned Soldiers’ Association. For further information, visit History SA's online resource, Adelaidia

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Churchill-Smith, James

James Churchill-Smith enlisted in May 1915, in Adelaide. He was born in October 1894, and was educated at Norwood Public School before going to the School of Mines. He was initially assigned to the 10th Infantry Battalion before joining the 50th, when the AIF was doubled in February 1916.

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Cooper, Ethel

Caroline Ethel Cooper (1871-1961) was something of an eccentric – for starters, she had a pet crocodile called Cheops which she kept in her apartment, and lived a very independent lifestyle. A proficient musician, she formed her own Women’s Orchestra in Adelaide before the outbreak of the war. A regular visitor to Germany, she was living in Leipzig when the war broke out. She remained in Germany for the duration of the war, writing a letter each week to her sister Emmie in Adelaide. Although these letters could not be posted during the war, the first 52 were smuggled to Switzerland and posted from Interlaken and the remainder were hidden and sent from England in 1918. Although her premises were often raided by police and she was forbidden from leaving several times during the war, she was not detained and had a pass that stated her presence was ‘agreeable to the military authorities’. She returned to Adelaide for a few years after the war, but returned to Europe where she participated in relief work. She settled in Adelaide in 1936, with her then-widowed sister.

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Fisher, Andrew

Of Scottish heritage, and a former miner and trade unionist, Andrew Fisher served as Prime Minister of Australia three times, in 1908–09, 1910–13 and 1914–15. During his second term he was instrumental in the passing of legislation that saw the introduction of Australia’s first national old-age pension scheme. Fisher was also PM when construction began on the Trans-Australian Railway – originally running the “Great Western Express” and nowadays the “Indian-Pacific” – and the Australian Capital Territory was founded. He won the election in 1914 just six weeks after war broke out across Europe. The new Labor Government was thus immediately consumed with devising defence measures and planning Australia’s War effort in support of the Empire. It was Fisher’s responsibility to despatch the troops to Europe at the beginning of the war, and as there were reports of German cruisers, he refused to allow the convoy to sail until it had been fully assembled. He also made the commitment that Australia would finance its troops itself. He had hoped to do this by raising the funds through taxes and duties, but this was not possible, and he negotiated a loan from Britain. This debt proved to be an ongoing burden to Australia in the 1930s. On 27 October, 1915 Fisher resigned as Prime Minister due to ill health and was succeeded by his deputy, William Morris (Billy) Hughes.  

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War Census of 1915

The War Census was conducted in September 1915, and required all males 18-60 to complete a 'Personal Card' and all people 18 years and over who possessed property or other income/assets to complete a 'Wealth and Income' card. The 'Personal Card' asked for information about health, occupation, military training and country of birth of the subject and their parents. The 'Wealth and Income Card' sought answers to questions about income, motor vehicles, horses, property, savings and investments. The responsibility for obtaining the forms and for posting the completed forms fell to the individuals. A team of temporary staff was assembled to process the information gathered.

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