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“Facts, Furphys & Figments – WW1 Revealed”

“Facts, Furphys & Figments – WW1 Revealed”


From the landing at ANZAC Cove on April 25th 1915 until the guns fell silent on the Western Front on November 11th, 1918, many thousands of Australians and New Zealanders played pivotal roles in the key battles of the Great War. As our countries commemorate the 100 year anniversaries of these events, there has been a renewal of interest and research into the events and the people and personalities involved. Old assumptions have been tested, myths and legends have been explored, and a veritable treasure trove of private and personal information has been re-discovered and made available for public consumption.


On Saturday 21st November 2015, from 10 am to 3.30 pm, at Oscar’s Hotel & Café Bar, 18 Doveton Street South, Ballarat, Mining Mud & Medals proudly presents a day of documentary makers, authors and speakers on a variety of World War One related subjects. Cost for the day, including a morning tea, is $40 per person.


Local film-makers Lucinda Horrocks and Jay Nemo from ‘Wind and Sky Productions’ will feature their video project: “Memories of War”. Their project commemorates the centenary of WW1 in Ballarat and connects young people to events that took place a century ago. Students from Federation University tell the stories of Ballarat people affected by the Great War.


Joshua Funder, great grandson of Stanley Watson wrote ‘Watson’s Pier’ as part of his family history. In Joshua’s words, “one Christmas when I was a small boy, I sat with my brother Hugh listening to the war stories of our great grandfather, Stanley Watson, who had come from Adelaide to Melbourne to visit us. What I heard for the first time that day in 1977 was the story of the remarkable evacuation of Gallipoli and his part in it. Hugh placed a tape recorder beside our great grandpa, documenting his words for a school project.” Joshua Funder will tell of his great-grandfather, who helped to build the pier to enable easier landing of supplies and weapons and which at the end of the Gallipoli Campaign, played a key role in the evacuation of 20,000 men.


Dr. Kirsty Harris’ expertise is on the roles and skills of Australian nurses who served overseas during World War I. Her current research includes Empire women at Gallipoli. Dr Harris was winner of the C.E.W. Bean Prize for Military History in 2008 for her PhD Thesis, upon which she based her book “More than Bombs and Bandages: Australian Army nurses at work in World War I’. The topic of Dr Harris’s talk will be ‘On the ferry service: nurses at sea at Gallipoli’.


Michael McKernan is an historian and prolific writer with extensive experience in teaching and research, management, the media and the practical presentation of history.  He is a commentator on ABC radio, and has a weekly half hour program on Australian history on the ABC’s 2BL Sydney and 2CN Canberra. As a former Deputy Director of the Australian War Memorial and project manager for the Entombment of the Unknown Australian Soldier, he was responsible for one of the most successful commemorative activities held in Australia. His most recent book ‘Victoria at War’, records the achievements of the state’s soldiers, nurses and their families, and will be the subject of his talk.


Finishing off the day will be a discussion panel highlighting the Myths & Truths of WW1. The panel will be led by Ballarat School teacher Justin Hayward, previously crowned the Victorian Winner of the Raw Comedy Festival.

Cost for the day, including a morning tea, is $40 per person (Lunch at own cost). Payments can be made direct (please include your name) to the Victorian Interpretive Project Inc. – Project account: BSB 633 000 account number: 145608105 or pay at the door, but please let us know by booking via email: or phone Yvon on 0438140756

There will be an hour break for lunch, however if you plan to have lunch at Oscar’s please book directly beforehand. You will have the opportunity to ask questions of each of our speakers as well as book signing opportunities.

Mining Mud & Medals is managed by a small subcommittee of the Victorian Interpretive Projects Inc., a Ballarat based not-for-profit organisation. Members include historians, genealogists, military researchers, professional editors, broadcasters and journalists.



P.O. BOX 171N



For more information please email:






Arthur Lane Kemp was born in Ballarat in 1876 and was educated in Gippsland. Prior to World War One

he was a Workmen’s Inspector in the mines at Leonora, in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia.A L Kemp


In 1915, Arthur left for England after training at Blackboy Hill Camp at Greenmount, WA.During his time in England

he suffered repeated bouts of serious illness. In February 1918 he was declared unfit for service and invalided back to

Australia the 3rd Auxiliary Hospital ship in April 1918.


Arthur’s Army medical records indicate there was confusion over the reasons for his repeated illnesses; On 16 June 1916

it was recorded as ‘Miners’ complaint’ (Phthisis) shortly before he departed Australia; tuberculosis was ruled out during a

medical conducted 16 June 1916. In October 1917, pneumonia caused his admission to the 1st Western General Hospital at

Windsor, England.


Upon his return to Australia confusion continued to reign. Arthur was diagnosed with chronic Bronchitis in January 1918,

then Fibrosis of the lungs in May 1918. Within weeks – in June 1918, the latter had been overturned in favour of a diagnosis

of Phthisis. He was officially discharged from the Australian Army Tunnelling Corps in early June 1918.


Sapper Arthur Kemp died in 1921.


More on Arthur Kemp via:


Photo Arthur Kemp via “Fighting Sons of the Empire’ page 229


If you are related to Arthur Lane Kemp, would you be so kind as to contact us via:



Ballarat Ranger Military Museum – Sunday 9 August 2015

The planting of the ‘Aleppo Pine’, descendant from a Pine Tree at Lone Pine planted on 9th of August by Lt Col Tom Biedermann Commanding Officer 8/7 RVR, at the Ballarat Ranger Museum, on the Centenary of the end oif the Battle for Lone Pine 1915.

As well as the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the Centenary of the raising of the 18th Company, Australian Army Service Corps, 8th Brigade, 5th Division, AIF on the 30th of August 1915. The plaque was unveiled by the descendant of the 18 AASC Men.


The re-creation of the Arthur Kenny Avenue of Honour

On Monday 3 August 2015, on a very cold Ballarat (with a little sleet/snow/hail thrown in for measure) the re-creation of the Arthur Kenny Avenue of Honour took place on Fortune Street, Ballarat East.

Over recent months, staff from Ballarat Childrens’ and Family Services (CAFS, a successor organisation to the Ballarat Orphanage) the City of Ballarat, Conservation Volunteers Australia, People at Work, Bunnings Warehouse, Espresso Mobile Cafe Ballarat, and the joint Rotary Clubs of Ballarat – with additional support received from the RSL Ballarat sub-branch – have worked together overseeing the planting of 106 replacement oak trees along Fortune Street.

These oaks replace those which formed the earlier Avenue of Honour named after the then manager at the Ballarat Orphanage. After Arthur Kenny’s death in 1925, the Avenue named in his honour slowly fell into disrepair. This project along with today’s ceremony form part of CAFS 150th celebrations in 2015.

Today, a newly cast commemorative brass plaque sits alongside each replacement oak; and the one pictured below commemorates the life of 4114 Sapper James Wallace – one of Ballarat’s sons – who served with the 5th Australian Army Tunnelling Corps.

Lest We Forget.

More on the re-creation of the Arthur Kenny Avenue of Honour:…/32534…/history-in-the-making/

James Wallace:

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Tunneller Charles William Whyte


News from the Mining Mud & Medals Project 

Lieutenant Charles William Whyte 

C.W. Whyte was born in Melbourne and graduated from the University of Melbourne after studying at the Ballarat School of Mines.  According to his SMB student record Whyte successfully completed units in Chemistry, Assaying, Mine Management, Drawing, Metallurgy, Mineralogy, Applied Mechanics, Land Surveying, Mine Management, Electricity and Magnetism and Drawing.

Whyte was assigned to the Australian Mining Corps upon his enlistment on 14 December 1915: his wife, Mary Teresa Whyte, of Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand, was listed as next of kin.

Following Lieut. Whyte’s arrival in France in the early months of 1916, he was reassigned to the newly established 3rd Australian Tunnelling Company. On 22 July 1916, he was killed in action in the field in France, where he died as a consequence of receiving a gun shot wound to the head.

More on the Mining Mud & Medals Wiki:

Whyte via Andrew Holmes

Papers Past:…

(Photo of gravestone thanks to Andrew Holmes)


John Tennant Veitch

Ballarat Tunneller John Tennant Veitch (2715)




Sapper Veitch was a 34 year old single miner living at Ballarat when he enlisted on 14 January 1916.

His next of kin listed was his mother Mrs. Margaret Veitch, 226 Ascot Street, Ballarat, Victoria. His unit, 1st Tunnelling Company,

embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT Euripides on 4 April 1916. He returned to Australia on 20 April 1919.


He lies buried in the New Ballarat Cemetery.


If you have any information on him please drop us a line:

More on Sapper Veitch:


William Dunstan, VC

Much has been reported on an area of land adjacent to the former Golden Point Primary School (Ballarat). In 1997, the land was purchased by the Sovereign Hill Historical Park. Although it was offically known as Golden Point PS Reserve, many living nearby had long since called by it by an unofficial name, William Dunstan Reserve.

In 2014 a small but vocal section of the Ballarat community expressed alarm when it became known the ‘Reserve’ had recently been purchased by a local property developer. A public campaign was mounted with a view to preserving this  ‘green space’ – and a failed attempt was made to establish a ‘Green Ban’ on the site.
Full story:…/311…/union-green-ban-on-park/Dunstan-1

Few residents in modern day Ballarat claim to know much about William Dunstan (1895-1957) who was born at Ballarat East on 8 March. This soldier and newspaper manager, was the fourth child and third son of William John Dunstan, bootmaker, and his wife Henrietta, née Mitchell.

On 2 June 1915, Dunstan enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force as a Private. Two weeks later he embarked for Egypt as an Acting Sergeant with the 6th Reinforcements of the 7th Battalion. On 5 August 1915, he was appointed an Acting Corporal with the 7th on Gallipoli; four days later he won the Victoria Cross for conspicuous bravery at Lone Pine.

On the morning of 9 August the Turks made a determined counter-attack on a newly captured trench held by Lieutenant Frederick Tubb and ten men. Two of these men were ordered to remain on the floor of the trench where they were to catch and throw back enemy bombs, or to smother their explosions with overcoats; both were soon mutilated. Lt Tubb, Cpl Dunstan, Cpl Alexander Burton and six others kept firing over the parapet. Several bombs burst simultaneously in the trench, killing or wounding five men. Tubb continued to fight supported only by Dunstan and Burton until a violent explosion blew down the barricade; Tubb drove the Turks off. Later, Dunstan and Burton were rebuilding it when a bomb burst between them, killing Burton and temporarily blinding Dunstan.

Cpl Dunstan was invalided to Australia and discharged on 1 February 1916, having been twice mentioned in dispatches. He then rejoined the Citizen Forces where he served in the rank of lieutenant, as Area Officer for Ballarat and Acting Brigade Major, 18th Infantry Brigade. His military career concluded when he transferred to the 6th Infantry Battalion in Melbourne in 1921, the Unattached List in 1923, and the Reserve of Officers in 1928 from whence he retired as lieutenant.

Additional Biographies

Photo of William Dunstan, VC ( )

Further Reading

Extract from the (unsuccessful) Application for Heritage Registration of former Reserve at Golden Point:…/FORMER-GOLDEN-POINT-RESERVE.doc

‘The Former Golden Point Primary School Reserve has been nominated on the basis of its association with William Dunstan, a winner of the Victoria Cross in 1915 and former student of the Golden Point Primary School.


  • The Former Golden Point Primary School Reserve is known informally by some in the community as the ‘William Dunstan Reserve’.
  • This place has a direct association with the community member William Dunstan.
  • William Dunstan was a former student at the Primary School and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his service at Gallipoli in 1915.
  • William Dunstan, as an individual, did not make a strong and influential contribution to the course of Victoria’s history.
  • William Dunstan was one of hundreds of students from that Primary School and one of 77 members of the First AIF who were awarded Victoria Crosses during World War I.’

Percival Gregory Barry.

Another tunneller from the Ballarat Electorate – Percival Gregory Barry.


5344 Percival Gregory Barry was born on 17 November 1897, in Preston, VIC. He is remembered together with his brothers Henry, Richard and Patrick on the Avenue of Honour at Bacchus Marsh, west of Melbourne.

On his enlistment form, Barry named his father, Joseph – who was also living at Bacchus Marsh, VIC – as next of kin.

Barry was assigned to the 6th Battalion, 17th Reinforcements, later detached to the 1st Canadian Tunnelling Company transferring to the Australian Electrical and Mechanical Mining and Boring Company (aka the AE&MM&B or Alphabet Company).

Barry was discharged from service on 15 September 1919.

His name also appears on the Roll of Honour for Bacchus Marsh held by RSL Bacchus Marsh.

More on our Wiki:

Bacchus Marsh Avenue of Honour:

Percival Barry’s photo via:


Thank you to the Ballarat East Community Men’s Shed & the Ballarat RSL

For the past year members working on the Mining Mud & Medals Project have been searching archives and records for the names of tunnellers from the Ballarat Electorate. During that time many have been added to our growing list of names.

On ANZAC Day last year we noticed many of those them were unrepresented amongst the rows of white crosses on the median strip near the Cenotaph, on Sturt Street. Every year volunteers from Ballarat RSL and Bunnings Ballarat carefully place each cross into the ground, in alphabetical order, a few days before ANZAC Day.

Many residents will be unaware those small crosses can be purchased by family members of ex-servicemen and women from all theatres of war, for the relatives who have spent a considerable amount of their life in Ballarat, from RSL Ballarat, for the one-off cost of $20 each (Those applying do not have to be modern day descendants of ANZAC diggers). This price barely covers the cost of making and painting each cross. There are also additional costs incurred during the preparation, such as printing and plasticising of the individual name tag attached to each cross.


Sturt Street Ballarat

Members of the Mining Mud & Medals sub-committee (auspiced by Victorian Interpretive Projects Inc.) recently compiled a list of unrepresented tunnellers. They were anxious to ensure their names would not be forgotten on the centenary of ANZAC this year. A search by staff at RSL Ballarat subsequently revealed, almost 60 Ballarat tunnellers were missing from the list of names in their White Cross database.

There are many reasons why their names may have been forgotten. Descendants of those who served in Australian Army Tunnelling Companies during WW1 are often unaware great grandad or a great uncle worked as a tunneller during the Secret War. In some instances, these servicemen simply had no family left in Ballarat.

With this in mind, the Mining Mud and Medals team agreed to facilitate the donation of 60+ crosses to the Ballarat RSL. A partnership between members of the Ballarat East Men’s Shed and Bunnings Ballarat ensured the White Cross project was completed in time for the Centenary of ANZAC commemorations held on 25 April 2015.

Volunteers from the Ballarat East Men’s Shed were honoured to be asked to make and paint the timber crosses for free: in all, they made 100 from recycled hardwood! They also ensured each cross had an RSL poppy wired onto it – and double-sided plastic clips were carefully attached to hold each name card in place. RSL Ballarat provided their poppies at no cost and Bunnings Ballarat kindly offered to supply the special clips used to hold the name tags. Thank you to everyone who worked to ensure this White Cross project was such a success. What a wonderful team effort!


In March 2016 the MM&M team will once again submit a list of recently identified tunneller names to RSL Ballarat for verification, and inclusion on their White Cross database. If you or a member of your extended family are connected to a local man who served with the Australian Army Tunnelling Corps, please contact the team at for further information.

Lest We Forget.

Ballarat East Community Men’s Shed:
Ballarat RSL:
Mining Mud & Medals wiki page:


MM&M Di Campbell & BEC’s Member Lynton Roberts


James Wallace

James Wallace was born in Ballarat on 3rd May 1882. James was admitted to the Ballarat Orphanage in 1888, and left to take up employment with Mr Duncan of Warracknabeal. He later worked in Queensland as a cane-cutter, and a miner in Broken Hill, South Australia. The latter possibly the reason for becoming a sapper in the 2nd and 3rd Tunnelling Companies in WW1.

He returned to Australia in 1918 and is buried in the New Ballarat Cemetery. He is also mentioned on the Orphanage Honour Roll.


Grave stone at the New Ballarat Cemetery


Cenotaph in Sturt Street, Ballarat



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