When Australia entered WW1 on the 4th of August 1914 – one hundred years ago - the news was greeted in Australia with great public enthusiasm. As in many towns throughout the country, Apollo Bay's young men answered the call to enlist. The next four years were to change their lives and those of their families, forever. Some men died in service, others returned to resume their lives in the Bay or to move on to other parts of Victoria.
The Apollo Bay & District Historical Society has collected some of the stories of the men and women from Apollo Bay who went off to war, and those left anxiously waiting their return. The Society acknowledges the families who are the descendants of men and women whose letters, diaries and memoirs have been used, along with war records, to tell their story. Donating these valuable records allows us to "hear the voices" from history.
The Apollo Bay Museum has a wonderful display of photographs and memorabilia from World War 1. Information held by the society on the service records of people from Apollo Bay who served in the war may also be viewed at the Museum.
The Museum opens 2-5pm Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays and daily during School Holidays.
Audio stories recorded at the Apollo Bay Radio studio
Throughout Australia young men were eager to enlist in support of Great Britain's declaration of war against Germany. The young men of Apollo Bay lined up to go to war.
The women left at home raised money for Red Cross and the Patriotic Funds.
When asked to vote at a referendum on conscription many were grieving the loss of their loved ones and were torn between sending more young men to their death and their loyalty to the "Mother Country".
Ted was 18 year old in 1915 when he enlisted, although he gave his age as 19. He was to fight along the Western Front until August 1918 when he was wounded in the head and leg. He returned home on a hospital ship and was discharged medically unfit on the 16th March 1919, after 1,276 days in the Army. Ted returned to Apollo Bay and took up farming.
Unlike their counterparts in France and Belgium, the Australians in the Middle East fought a mobile war against the Ottoman Empire in conditions completely different from the mud and stagnation of the Western Front. The light horsemen and their mounts had to survive extreme heat, harsh terrain, and water shortages.
After an eventful journey to England that took 2½ months, Stanley was to spend a year in army camps in England before being sent to France. After six months he was caught in a gas attach. He was hospitalised in England before his return to Australia. Stan was to take up farming on his return to Apollo Bay.
Surviving Gallipoli Jim was evacuated and was sent to the Western Front. The war on the Western Front settled into a stalemate, with the opposing armies facing each other from trench systems that extended across Belgium and north-east France, from the English Channel to the Swiss border. Throughout the war Jim Turner wrote letters to the Pengilley family of Apollo Bay. He was killed in action July 25 1916.
Charles Stanford was the son of Albert and Elizabeth Stanford who were the owners of the Elderslie Guest House from the early 1900's until the 1920's. Elderslie was on the site of the current Apollo Blue Apartments in Nelson Street Apollo Bay. Charles fought in France and was fatally wounded in July 1918. He was buried in the British Cemetery in Vignacourt, France.
There were three brothers from the Cawood family of Apollo Bay who enlisted in the war. Alfred was killed in action while Victor and Les returned to Apollo Bay.
Victor kept a diary and his descriptions of life in the trenches show something of the life endured by the soldiers as the war dragged on.
There were only two women known to be associated with Apollo Bay who enlisted as nurses in WW1 - Charlotte Ramsden and Jean McColl. Charlotte served a short time on the Hospital Ship HMAHS 'Kanowna'. Jean was the Bush Nurse in Apollo Bay before she enlisted at the age of 34 years. She was sent to Salonika, Greece and worked in the General Hospital as a senior nurse.
Records and photographs of many the local WW1 veterans have been compiled and can be viewed at the Apollo Bay Museum.
"Lest We Forget"
Video tributes by 2014 Year 9 students from Apollo Bay P-12 College
TRIBUTE 1 by Catalina Lonie-Richardson, Casey O'Carroll, Calum Brew-Goodlet, Molly Fisher, Monique Gilham
TRIBUTE 2 by Pat Lugg, Billey Bernet, Tristan Smith, Hori Matthews
TRIBUTE 3 by Matt Franklin, Rip Ballinger, Ezrah Robertson
Letters and Diaries
- Letters from Jim Turner, (1999) Apollo Bay and District Historical Society. Permission to reproduce given by Merle Bettie.
- Letter: Mary Anne Shepherdson to Mrs C Pengilly. Permission to reproduce Laura Pengilley.
- Memories of Apollo Bay, Kath Shanahan. Permission to reproduce given by Peter Shanahan.
- Ted's Tales, Clarence Methven Perkins, Apollo Bay, Victoria.
- Diary Albert Marriner August 1915 – July 1917. Permission to reproduce has been given by Les Marriner.
- From Apollo Bay to the Trenches Victor Cawood's Diary Feb 1915 – Aug 1917. (1998), Apollo Bay and District Historical Society. Permission to reproduce given by Bruce and Marion Cawood.
- Diary Stanley Currie. Permission to reproduce given by Gordon Currie.
- Memorial Address Lance Corporal CT Stanford by J W Heaton, Aug 4 1918.