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Speakers evening in Ballarat – ‘From the Bush to the Battle’

‘From the Bush to the Battle’ – Three passionate speakers on Ballarat’s involvement in WW1, on Tuesday 11 November 2014 from 7:00-9:00 pm at the Humffray Room, Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute, 117-119 Sturt Street, Ballarat. $10 per person (Including supper)

Neil Leckie from the Ballarat Ranger Military Museum:
To speak about the 8th Battalion which was raised at Ballarat on 14 August 1914. Enlistment dates for men who served in this Battalion commence on that date and run through until just before their embarkation overseas, which commenced on 19th October 1914.

And more on Ballarat’s smaller WW1 units: 18th Australian Army Service Corps (18 AASC) and Ballarat’s Medical and Light Horse connections.









Neil Leckie



2014-09-06 10.22.09
Tim Fitzgerald from Bendigo, Volunteer Research Officer:
Come and hear the story of Ballarat’s own 39th Battalion which was raised on 21 February 1916, at the Ballarat Showgrounds.

Enlistment dates for the men who served in this Battalion commence on that date and they run through until just before their embarkation overseas,

which commenced on 27 May 1916. 



Yvon Davis – Project Manager, Mining Mud & Medals:
Will talk about the 4 year project Mining Mud & Medals, highlighting the role of men who served in various Australian Tunnelling Corps during WW1,

particularly those who came from the Ballarat Electorate, or those from elsewhere who came to study at the Schools of Mines in the electorate.

The Mining Mud & Medals Project is partially funded by the ANZAC Centenary Grant.




Tickets for the event are $10 per person (includes supper) and they can be purchased at the door or from these venues: Ballarat RSL (at the George Hotel); Dave Wright Militaria & Collectables (behind Dan Murphy’s) and Antik on the corner of Grant Street and Humffray Street South, Ballarat.



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you would like to reserve a ticket, please send us an email:

P.O. BOX 171N



Sapper John William Lavars

Sapper William John Lavars (1065), 3rd Australian Tunnelling Company, was a 40 year old miner from Creswick, who enlisted on 25-11-1915 in Kargoolie W.A. Killed in action 12 September 1916, in France.


We would like to add more details about this tunneller to our wiki and wondered if anyone has any information about him, or even perhaps a photograph?

Lavars burial


Listed on the Creswick honour board: 



Photo of original burial site via the Nation Archives of Australia.and photo of Australian War Memorial Wall.



Sapper John McInroy

Sapper John McInroy (3934) member of the 5th Tunnelling Coy as well as the 2nd Tunnelling Coy.McINroy-Wiki

John McInroy was born at Horsham, Victoria.
After WW1 John McInroy returned to Daylesford where he lived with his wife, Frances.

(Photo taken by Clare Gervasoni)


Sapper Thomas Halvey

Sapper Thomas Halvey (579) from Scarsdale, No 1 Mining Corps, enlisted on 20 July 1915, returned to Australia in 1919.



William Charles Gilbert, 15th Field Company, Australian Engineers (348)

Local Tunneller – Lieutenant William Charles Gilbert, 15th Field Company, Australian Engineers (348), was born in Ballarat East in 1888.M20001-engineers

He listed his trade as a well borer and a 7 year apprenticeship with the Phoenix Company in Ballarat. He enlisted on 12 July 1915 at the age of 27

and returned to Australia in 1919.

In June 1918 he received a Military Cross ‘For conspicuous gallantry and untiring devotion to duty. From 29th September to 1st October 1918,

in the vicinity of Bellicourt and Estrees, he repeatedly carried out forward reconnaissances under continuous shell fire, and obtained valuable information

on location and condition of wells, roads, cellars and dug-outs, and furnished the first reconnaissance reports of the captured portion of the Bellicourt Tunnel.’

(As mentioned in the London Gazette).–39-.PDF


More on Tunneller Gilbert (who also enlisted in WW2) can be found via


Robert Adam Clinton – 1st Australian Mining Corps

Robert Adam Clinton – 1st Australian Mining Corps, was a mining engineer from Ballarat. He enlisted at the age of 36 in September 1916. Born 25 October 1879 at Taradale, near Ballarat, Victoria, Robert was the son of Adam Donaldson and Wilhelmina (nee Cameron) Clinton. The Electoral Roll of 1906 records him as a miner at Laverton, Western Australia.

He was one the team of officers from the 1st Australian Tunnelling Company who were responsible for firing the massive explosive charge in a mine under Hill 60.

He died in Melbourne East at the age of 46 in 1936.
More on Robert Adam Clinton:

Outdoors group portrait at a rest camp of the team of officers from the 1st Australian Tunnelling Company

who were responsible for firing the massive explosive charge in a mine under Hill 60

which completely destroyed the German front line at the northern end of Messines Ridge on 1917-06-07.

The officers are (left to right): back row: Lieutenant (Lt) John MacDiarmid Royle; Lt James Bowry;

Lt Hubert Henry Carroll, MC. Front row: Captain (Capt) Oliver Holmes Woodward, MC and two bars;

Major James Douglas Henry, CO, OBE, DSO; Capt Robert Adam Clinton, MC. Capt Woodward

was responsible for closing the main electrical switch and Lts Royle and Bowry the two auxiliary switches

that detonated the explosives. Capt Clinton had been in charge of the digging of the advanced tunnels

under the German trenches, while Major Henry was responsible for synchronising, by means of a stopwatch,

the detonation at Hill 60 with the detonation of other explosive charges all along Messines Ridge.

(Donor J. MacD. Royle) (Original print held in AWM Archive Store. Formerly 3DRL 3852)


MINING MUD & MEDALS Facebook and WIKI page:

MINING, MUD & MEDALS Facebook page is designed to highlight the role of the ANZAC tunnellers in WW1 – especially those who hailed from the Ballarat Electorate as well as many other WW1 related information.  The Facebook page connects with similar groups on many levels, for example, it is regularly updated with news items, hyperlinks to handy research websites, specialist information, photos, and advance notices about ANZAC related events. Anyone interested in the history of WW1 will find a plethora of interesting items on this site which is aptly named: Mining Mud & Medals.


…as they say there’s more……

Mining Mud & Medals are working hard on a Wiki page, with information on:

The Mining Corps, the Battlefields, biographies, miners, maps and repatriation.




If you have WW1 ‘Tunnellers’ in your family, please contact us via:





Major General Harold Edward ‘Pompey’ Elliott

Major General Harold Edward ‘Pompey’ Elliott.

‘The War that changed us” is the story of Australia and the First World War revealed through the lives of six Australians.

Brought to life through personal testimony, dramatic reconstruction, expert analysis, location filming and colourised archive.




One of the people highlighted in the documentary was Major General Harold Edward Elliott, better known as “Pompey”.

On ABC TV this week, the last episode of: ‘The War that changed us”. If you’ve missed the last episode (or would like to see the series again)

you can still see it via this link:





Historian Ross McMullin, spoke in the series about ‘Pompey’, but has also written a book about him:

‘Pompey’ also had a strong link with Ballarat. He was born near Ballarat in 1878 and he obtained his early education at Ballarat College.

In the central part of Ballarat, on Sturt street, there stands a special statue dedicated to him. It was unveiled in 2011.




Sapper Harold Evelyn Baxter

Harold Evelyn Baxter – place of association: Snake Valleybaxter

On his enlistment papers, he has his father living in Snake Valley.

PHOTO: An Australian cemetery on the beach at Anzac Cove.

The grave at the far right is of 182 Sapper (Spr) Harold Evelyn Baxter,

2nd Field Company Australian Engineers. A telephone mechanic from Melbourne,

Victoria, prior to enlistment, he embarked on HMAT Orvieto on 20 October 1914 for Gallipoli.

Spr Baxter was killed in action on 3 June 1915, aged 23 years. (Via AWM)



Wartime memories of Ballarat – at the Gold Museum

Wartime memories of Ballarat – at the Gold Museum in Ballarat.

2014-09-06 10.17.53



A special exhibition showcasing part of the Gold Museum’s collection of military history.



Items such as WW1 honour boards, various displays of WW1 and WW2 memorabilia,2014-09-06 10.36.23

including photos and costumes.






For more on the Gold Museum and it’s collection: 



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