Monthly Archives: June 2014

2. Martyr for the Empire

The Gippsland Standard and Alberton Shire Representative on 12 June 1914 featured a magazine section that included a number of articles, most of them unsourced, in the genre of popular reading.  There was, for example, a short article about a vicar in Britain who had a problem with … the growing custom of bridesmaids and other women in bridal parties attending the marriage service with uncovered heads. He was about to … decline to solemnise marriages where the scriptural rule is not observed. There was another story that recounted the experience of an Australian girl who, on a visit to Germany, took a flight on the Zepplin airship, Victoria Louise, from Hamburg to Kiel. She was living the high life, literally:

It was a lovely sensation, and an ideal way of travelling – no jolting or rattling as in an express train, and not that constant sensation of speed and the after result of drumming in the ears as in a motor. We sat in comfortable cane armchairs in a sort of long observation car, and drank champagne and ate caviar sandwiches in a most luxurious manner, with no idea we were travelling so fast.

The airship was heading to Kiel for a yachting regatta and the Kaiser himself was there:

… as the airship swept over Kiel harbor at eleven o’clock (the hour for the opening of the regatta), we could see the Kaiser standing on the deck of his yacht, the “Hohenzollern,” waving his cap at us. He takes a great interest in these airships and encourages them all he can.

These were the same airships that would be used to bomb British cities the following year.

But the story I want to highlight from the collection is the one headed, Pioneers of Empire: Adventures Among Cannibals. It is a detailed account, again unsourced, of the life and death, or martyrdom, of the Scottish missionary James Chalmers who worked in (British) New Guinea from 1871 to his death in 1901.

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1. Death of a Footballer

The title of this first post is taken from the headline to a story that appeared in the local paper – The Gippsland Standard and Alberton Shire Representative – on Friday 22 May 1914. It covers the death of a local footballer from injuries he sustained in a match played at Port Albert.

The short version of what happened is that in the game played between the Port-Goodwood and Ramblers teams at Port Albert on Saturday 16 May 1914 there was a heavy collision over a contested ball, and Wilfred (‘Friday’) Lawson, from the Ramblers, was so badly injured he had to be taken back to Yarram in a jinker. That night his father did not return home until around 6.00pm and when he saw his son’s condition he sent for the local doctor – Dr Pern – who saw Lawson a little later that same night. He believed that Lawson’s bowel had been ruptured.

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