Month: December 2018

  • WWI in the Herald: April 17, 1915

    WWI in the Herald: Archive
    Shanghai night field

    SATURDAY 17 APRIL 1915

    When the Emden was battered into a wreck by H.M.A.S. Sydney, in November, and it was announced that what remained of her armament and fittings was being collected, the suggestion was made that steps should be taken to obtain some of the relics as mementos of the Australian navy’s first sea fight.

    This suggestion was acted upon, and it was stated that the collection of relics was coming to the Commonwealth.

    Some of these, it is hoped, will be distributed amongst the States, while others will be specially reserved for the Federal Capital.

    The activity on the part of the German Zeppelins has so far proved a very negligible quantity in the war.

    Of two that attacked fortified points near the Belgian frontier, one was so damaged by gunfire that it returned in a battered condition without having done any damage, while the other killed three civilians and set fire to some ships.

    The attack upon the Tyne district may or may not have been intended to destroy or injure the ordinance and naval works, but merely resulted in the destruction of some property and not in loss of life.

    The value of these huge dirigibles as a weapon of offence is necessarily be coming discounted, and the statement recently purporting to have been made by the secretary to Count Zeppelin that ten of them will attack London in August will probably not create much apprehension.

    It is, indeed, somewhat remarkable that such an avowal of the intention of the enemy should be made, as the unwisdom of putting the British on their guard is obvious, and the only conclusion which affords itself is that it is an emanation of the extraordinary boastful vein which has been exhibited by the enemy since the beginning of the war.

    At the same time, some surprise cannot be repressed that these raiders are permitted to pay flying visits to the British coast without receiving attention from local aviators.

    That the British aeroplane is more than a match for the unwieldy end monstrous dirigibles is admitted, and the shooting down of one or two would be a satisfactory reply to German boasting. It has, of course, to be fully admitted that the British authorities know their own business, and thoroughly grasp the whole position, as well as the risk from aerial attacks.

    The question, however, arises whether, owing to the great demands upon the services of their aviators, they have sufficient to keep constant guard over all parts of the coast line.

    The great ordinance works and naval yards in Newcastle-on-Tyne should be afforded the utmost protection.

    The war has now proved the great value of aeroplanes in many ways, and to a great extent they have entirely replaced previous methods of scouting. From the point of view of aerial attacks also they have been of great utility, and will prove still more so as the war proceeds.

    Hydroplanes have been sent flying over an enemy’s shores from British war vessels, and have been of aid, in destroying aeroplane and Zeppelin sheds, and also it is understood, a number of the flying machines.

    While the great work which is being done by the Commonwealth Government as regards the despatch of expeditionary forces and pushing on with its preparations for naval defence is fully appreciated, it may be asked whether it is doing as much as could be desired in the training of aviators and the construction of aeroplanes.

    Its staff consists of a very few officers, of whom it is lending the services of one or two to the Government of India. No fault can be found with this action, as the Indian armies, both at home and in the field, may require more aviators, and the instruction of these men by the Australian officer will be a service to the Empire.

    But this affords no reason why Australia should not consider its own defence at the same time. The danger of attack may not seem very great, and probably is not, but it is a risk which a prudent administration should guard against.

    This is the time for putting this service on an efficient footing in the Commonwealth.

    No doubt the nucleus which the Government possesses is good enough, but it is too small.

    Australia is a vast continent, and its chief seaports should possess some protection front aerial attack.

    London, Thursday.

    Mr. Tennant, the Parliamentary Under-secretary to the War Office, stated in the House of Commons that the British casualties to the 11th April, numbered 139,347.

    Sydney, Friday.

    Mr. Carmichael, who is organising the big send-off to the troops on April 24th, has received the following letter from the Premier:

    “Arrangements have been made, at the instance of the district commandant for the 16th Infantry Band at Newcastle to be convoyed to and from Sydney by rail free of charge.”

    The number of men to pass the enrolling officer at Victoria Barracks today was satisfactory. Amongst the recruits were two farmers, who brought their own horses, and they were drafted to the Light Horse. Others included two horse trainers and an ex-naval man, who had served as a gun-layer in the Imperial Navy.

    Mr. John Winterbottom, of Minmi, has received a letter from his son, Private J. Winterbottom who left Australia with the first Expeditionary Force, and who was in Egypt when the letter was written on March 7th.

    The letter is chiefly occupied with a refutation of some of the statements which have been made concerning the conduct of the Australian troops in Egypt, and it is evident the tone of the statements has caused much pain and resentment among the men.

    Private Winterbottom sans that he cannot understand why such statements were ever made and published.

    He alluded to the gay attractions of Cairo, and points out that when they landed in Egypt the force of nearly 50,000 men had been on the transport for eight weeks, without touching land.

    It was not to be wondered at that when so large a number of men came under the influence of many temptations offered in Cairo that a few of the weaker would be caught; but it was not fair to “condemn the whole lot because of a paltry few.” R

    eferring to the general charge of drunkenness among the troops, the writer of the letter says that he has seen more drunken men in Minmi in a day than would be seen at Mena camp in a week.

    The population of the camp numbered nearly 50,000, all physically fit, and trained ready for anything. Private Winterbottom said that Mr. Walker, one of the English agents of the Y.M.C.A., who was in the camp at the time the letter quoted was written, said that he was astonished at the statements which had been published in the Australian press, and said that he would take steps to refute them.

    A meeting of the committee appointed to give effect to the proposals of Colonel Wallack, State Commandant, was hold at the Newcastle Council Chambers yesterday afternoon. Lieutenant-colonel Clark presided.

    Mr. D. Macdonald thought there was a great deal of apathy among young men, and efforts should be made to endeavour to compel them to enlist.

    Mr. Munro advocated that the Governor-general should put into force the provisions of the Defence Act. Many men at present holding back should be compelled to enlist. Considering the numbers in this district, the response was far from praiseworthy.

    Mr. Macdonald thought it would be advisable to get the population of the city and district, and find the male population, and compel those who were available to enlist in the service of the country.

    He stated there were two rifle clubs in the city doing good work, the Y.M.C.A. and A.N.A. Clubs, and with drills and rifle practices at night – (no doubt the Mayor would be good enough to supply the electric light) – arrangements could be made so that miniature rifle ranges could be established and thus acquire all the knowledge necessary, and the railway rifle range might be reconstructed.

    Mr. Fox said they had replies from the railway office in Sydney with regard to the formation of railway rifle clubs.

    No doubt these would work in conjunction with the tramway rifle clubs, the opinion being not to form separate clubs.

    (From Embarkation Rolls)

    Private John Kelly, Scone, 17th Infantry Battalion, 1st Reinforcements

    Private Clement McNamara, Newcastle, 18th Infantry Battalion, 1st Reinforcements

  • Committee for Sydney’s Tim Williams slams road building plans for city

    Sydney congestion: cars on Parramatta Road near Flemington Markets. Tim Williams: “What is so different about the Australian city experience?” Photo: Michele Mossop
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    A slide from the presentation, which bore the legend: “This is not our vision.”

    “I wouldn’t start from here”: Tim Williams’ presentation [PDF – 31MB]What you need to know about WestConnexMore NSW news

    The head of a major Sydney business lobby group has come out swinging against the Baird and Abbott governments’ road-building agenda, while also slamming the boss of the WestConnex project for trying to divide the city.

    The chief executive of the Committee for Sydney, Tim Williams, told an audience at the University of Sydney last week all sides of politics had “got it wrong” on the city’s transport priorities, criticising them for a lack of ambition in promoting public transport in the growing metropolis.

    Dr Williams, whose organisation’s members include major construction, finance and engineering firms, also called on the government to release the business cases for the new mega projects being proposed for Sydney which, to its detriment, remained in the thrall of road builders.

    “There is no strategic or structural planner of Sydney at this point of time outside of RMS [Roads and Maritime Services],” Dr Williams told the Halloran Trust event at the university.

    “RMS is the structural planner for Sydney,” Dr Williams said, before quoting George Orwell to the effect that Sydney was “a family with the wrong members in control”.

    “I’m sorry to have to say it but I think it is, I think we’ve got problems,” he said. “I think in its current form, RMS needs to be reconstructed.”

    Dr Williams’ presentation largely reflected familiar themes advanced by transport academics and urban planners. As cities became denser, governments needed to fit them with better public transport, cycling and walking facilities, rather than focusing on new motorways that encourage sprawl and car use.

    But the intervention is significant because it is rare for a big business group to press these points. Members of the Committee for Sydney include major engineering firms like Arup​ and AECOM, as well as finance companies like Macquarie Group, Westpac and ANZ.

    “We are in the presence of another road transport upheaval in this city,” Dr Williams said, while showing a slide of the $15 billion WestConnex motorway and its proposed extensions to the north and south.

    “Which, by the way, we are not seeing in any other cities in the world,” he said. “And that’s the issue – many other cities in the world are taking their highway capacity out and I’m just wondering, what is so different about the Australian city experience that means that they’re wrong and we are right?

    “We think this is a congestion-busting proposition and nowhere in Christendom does that appear to be the case – so what’s going on?”

    For the most part, Dr Williams declined to specifically cite the WestConnex project, a 33-kilometre series of motorways largely through the inner west of Sydney.

    But he aimed direct criticism at the chief executive of the WestConnex Delivery Authority, Dennis Cliche, for comments reported in the Herald in which Mr Cliche said those opposed to WestConnex were wealthier people in inner suburbs.

    “They’re not living in the mortgage belt. They don’t have kids who are to some extent excluded socially from the opportunities that some people have,” Mr Cliche said.

    In his address, Dr Williams said this was a “terrible way to have a civic dialogue about transport in our city”.

    “Trying to set one part of the community against another, trying to say that the inner west community is trying to stop the good people of western Sydney getting access to something,” Dr Williams said.

    “This is the statement by the chief executive of the WestConnex Delivery Authority and more shame him. I know him and he’s spoken to the Committee for Sydney,” he said.

    “I am astonished. I think he must be panicking. I don’t think his masters would want the dialogue to be conducted like this.

    “But also it’s just wrong. Because if you are worried about the inequity of our city and access to public transport, there’s really a good thing to do about it – give them access to public transport in western Sydney.”

    Contacted for comment, Mr Cliche said: “Sydney needs an integrated transport solution that includes both roads and public transport to keep our city moving. It is not an either/or proposition.

    “WestConnex Delivery Authority is committed to engaging with our stakeholders as a core part of planning and delivering this project. We welcome constructive dialogue which will help ensure we deliver the best possible road infrastructure for Sydney.”

    Dr Williams called on the government to release the business case for the WestConnex project –  “the people who propose these massive projects, they haven’t even bothered to show us the evidence” – but also criticised the lack of focus at the recent state election on alternative public transport proposals.

    “For me it’s a politically neutral thing, they’ve all got it wrong.”

    Dr Williams said what was needed was a transport “revolution” in Sydney, with aggressive targets to promote public transport use.

    Separately, City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has been campaigning against WestConnex and this week released a report querying its supposed benefits.

    In response, Roads Minister Duncan Gay said: “While Clover Moore wastes ratepayers money on dubious traffic studies, she turns a blind eye to the thousands of motorists stuck on the M4 and M5 each day.”

    “Motorists battling the M4 and M5 every day, those stuck in gridlock on Parramatta Road, can’t wait for WestConnex – they know to do nothing is not an option,” Mr Gay said. Concord tunnelling point announced

    Separately, Mr Gay announced on Wednesday that a hockey field at Concord would make way for the motorway project’s midway tunnelling point.

    Players displaced by loss of the Cintra Park Hockey Field would be accommodated in “new and improved” facilities at the St Lukes Park precinct, said Mr Gay, who added the decision eliminated the need to acquire homes.

    “The mid-point allows tunnelling work to be carried out in two directions from the one location, towards the M4 widening at Homebush Bay Drive and towards the end of the M4 East tunnel at Haberfield,” he said.

  • Bali 9: How Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop learnt of the executions

    Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Prime Minister Tony Abbott pictured addressing the media after the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran early on Wednesday morning. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Mr Abbott spoke with Ms Bishop several times throughout the night. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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    Ms Bishop and Mr Abbott arriving for the press conference. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

    Australia has announced it is withdrawing its ambassador to Indonesia after the executions. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

    Indonesia responds to Australia withdrawing ambassadorAnalysis: Cold comfort in diplomatic deep freezePolice officers face jail for death penalty tip-offs: Palmer proposal

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott arrived in Canberra at about midnight on Tuesday knowing two Australians would soon be executed.

    After ten years on death row, legal appeals, ministerial and consular lobbying and a parliamentary motion it became clear on Saturday, Anzac Day, that Indonesia intended to proceed with the executions.

    Mr Abbott had only just touched down in Australia from France where he had stopped for meetings with President Francois Hollande after a trip to Turkey to commemorate the centenary of the Anzac landing.

    At the forefront of his mind throughout the journey was the fate of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran and he discussed their plight with Mr Hollande.

    Immediately after Mr Abbott arrived in Canberra he was briefed and went home but spoke with Ms Bishop several times throughout the night.

    He arrived at Parliament House in the early hours of the morning.

    Ms Bishop worked throughout the night, the culmination of months of work trying to save the lives of Chan and Sukumaran.

    Despite being in Europe for the weekend Ms Bishop had not stopped making representations on behalf of the pair.

    She finally reached her Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi, on Sunday night from the Dubai airport as she made the journey back to Australia.

    It was the last conversation the pair had.

    It is usually defence ministers who have the solemn duty of informing Australians that one of their countrymen or women has been killed overseas.

    On Wednesday it was Mr Abbott’s and Ms Bishop’s job.

    “Just after 3.30am Canberra time I received notification of reports of gunfire from Cilacap prison,” Ms Bishop said at an early morning press conference on Wednesday.

    “Our ambassador and our previous ambassador and our consular staff have been working around the clock.

    “I have been on the telephone talking to our ambassador, talking to officials but my last telephone conversation with my counterpart was on Sunday.”

    Ms Bishop spoke with the families of both men.

    Much of the discussions between Mr Abbott and Ms Bishop revolved around the government’s response and how strong it would be.

    Mr Abbott’s and Ms Bishop’s offices had been receiving calls for comment since 3.30am and they waited in vain for official notification of the deaths from the Indonesian government.

    It became clear they could not wait any longer.

    At 6.55am a media alert was issue for a press conference at 7.30am.

    By the time they began to speak it had been four hours since the men died.

    Ms Bishop has been in regular contact with the families and taken the men’s situation to heart.

    Although she went to pains to stress on Wednesday morning that the Indonesian’s decision was “not personal” it clearly was.

    “I don’t want to personalise it but, obviously, I do regret that while my representations have  been listened to patiently and courteously, they have not been heeded,” Ms Bishop said.

    The sadness on the faces of both politicians well versed in the art of poker faces was clear for all to see.

    Follow us on Twitter  Australian Politics – Fairfax

  • WWI in the Herald: April 22, 1915

    WWI in the Herald: Archive
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    THURSDAY 22 APRIL 1915

    London, Wednesday.

    The Admiralty states that as the Turks were making great efforts to secure the British submarine E15, which was still aground, but in a serviceable condition, the Allies’ battleships endeavoured to destroy it by long range fire, but failed.

    On Sunday night two picket boats, under Lieutenant-commander Eric G. Robinson, of H.M.S. Triumph, with volunteer crews, attacked the submarine.

    They were under heavy fire from the big guns at the fort, which was only a few hundred yards distant, and also fire from many smaller guns.

    They succeeded in torpedoing the submarine, and rendering it useless.

    One of the picket boats, from H.M.S. Majestic, was sunk by gunfire, but the other boat rescued the crew.

    One man, who died from his wounds, was the only casualty.

    Lieutenant-commander Robinson has been promoted to the rank of commander.

    Paris, Tuesday.

    A press correspondent, writing from Salonica, says the Russians have mined the entrance to the Bosphorus.

    Two Turkish destroyers have been blown up and sank, and the remainder of the Turkish fleet is unable to enter the Bosphorus, owing to the fact that the Turkish mine-sweepers are rapidly exhausting their coal supply.

    Petrograd, Wednesday.

    The latest communique states that the enemy in the direction of Stry, in the Carpathians, gained a footing on the heights of Arawzik.

    The Russians counter-attacked, and recaptured the position, taking a number of prisoners.

    They mined a German trench at Eastern Rozankaranz and took the position at the point of the bayonet. Many prisoners and guns were captured.

    Perth, Wednesday.

    Greek papers which have been received by the latest mail give some details of the reported naval disaster in the Dardanelles on March 18th, when the British battleships Irresistible, 15,000 tons, Ocean, 12,950 tons, and the French battleship Bouvet, 12,000 tons, were said to have been sunk by mines.

    It appears from the Greek reports that when the ice began to melt in the Black Sea, at the beginning of spring, it caused a strong current in the Straits. Taking advantage of this, the Turks discharged a large number of torpedoes, which were carried by the current towards the Allies’ warships.

    For some days afterwards the bodies of French and English sailors who lost their lives in the disaster were carried past the island of Zenedes by the current.

    Greek women brought large quantities of flowers and threw them into the sea from the cliffs as the bodies were swept by.

    (Two Australian chaplains returned from Egypt)

    Perth, Wednesday.

    On board the R.M.S. Mooltan, which arrived at Fremantle on Monday, were two military chaplains, who accompanied the Australian Expeditionary Force to Egypt.

    During the course of an interview one of them stated that the Australians had had a somewhat trying time during the last few weeks of their stay in Egypt. The weather, when the Expeditionary Force arrived, was all that could be desired, but towards the end sandstorms and heat made things very unpleasant.

    “I am sure,” he added, “that the sands of Egypt contain all the filth of the Pharaohs. One day the sand completely blotted out the sun, and after the sand came a plague of locusts which were even worse than the sand. I might add that our hoys are doing splendidly, and that all that talk about misbehaviour has been greatly exaggerated.”

    Melbourne, Wednesday.

    A bill to amend the War Precautions Act was read a first time, on the motion of Senator Pearce, the Minister for Defence, in the Senate today.

    Power is given to the Governor-General to make regulations for securing the public safety and defence of the Commonwealth, and for conferring such power as he thinks fit upon Naval and Military Boards, and to make regulations to authorise the trial by court martial, and punishment of persons committing offences against the regulations.

    The Minister is given power to require that the whole or any part of the output of any factory or workshop in which arms, ammunition, or warlike stores, or equipment are manufactured, shall be placed at his disposal, and if necessary, take possession of such factory.

    In case of a court martial being held, a person may be proceeded against, and dealt with as if he were a person subject to military law, and had on active service committed an offense under section 5 of the Army Act, provided that when the offence is committed with the intention of assisting the enemy the person convicted by a court martial shall be liable to suffer death. A court martial, or court of summary jurisdiction may be authorised in addition to other punishment to order the forfeiture of goods.

    (From Embarkation Rolls)

    Private Clifford Arnold Bailey, West Maitland, 18th Infantry Battalion, 1st Reinforcements

    Private William Barrett, Pelaw Main, 17th Infantry Battalion, 1st Reinforcements

    Private Andrew George, Stewarts Brook, 17th Infantry Battalion, 1st Reinforcements

    Private George Gordon Haydon, Muswellbrook, 6th Australian Light Horse Regiment, 8th Reinforcements

    Private William Francis Holloway, Waratah, 26th Infantry Battalion

    Private George Lawrence Valentine Tarrant, Hamilton, 20th Infantry Battalion, 2nd Reinforcements

    Private Harry Wills, Cessnock, 18th Infantry Battalion, 7th Reinforcements

  • NSW Waratahs ready to rumble in rolling maul against ACT Brumbies

    The Waratahs were long overdue to show how their rolling maul can be a scoring weapon against the Rebels in Sydney last Saturday, but at least they were not too late.
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    The challenge for them now is to show what they can do with this added element of their attacking game, starting Friday in Canberra against the Brumbies, who are masters of the rolling maul. That the Brumbies scored three tries off rolling mauls against the Highlanders last Friday, with flanker David Pocock nabbing all three, speaks volumes of its impact to the Australian conference leaders.

    But that Waratahs No. 7 Michael Hooper scored off a rolling maul from a line-out nine minutes into their 18-16 win over the Rebels will have boosted the Tahs’ confidence to match them in that tactic. Waratahs prop Paddy Ryan says having an effective rolling maul will broaden their options in attack.

    And he is not alone in that thought, with his Waratahs teammates sharing that view this week. Asked if the rolling maul could become a centrepiece of Friday’s game in Canberra, a smiling Ryan said: “There will be a bit of that.”

    Ryan, who last week re-signed with the Waratahs to the end of 2016, believes that with both sides boasting strong back lines, “both teams will be looking to lay a platform with their forwards”.

    But he did not give too much away as to how the Waratahs planned play off that platform, saying, “If that means rolling maul and scrum, then that’s what that means. If that means big carries in the middle of the field, then that’s what that means.

    “But both teams have really exciting outside backs … it makes for a better game across the whole park. And the forward play will certainly be a part of that. That will include mauling and scrumming and running and rucking, but it will also include the elusive stuff out wide, which our guys love. I am sure theirs do as well.”

    However, on Monday Waratahs second-rower Mitchell Chapman flagged the rolling maul as key to a game that could see NSW move into first on the Australian conference ladder with a win.

    Chapman recognises the Brumbies strength in the tactic saying, “We can’t afford to be letting them score two or three tries off a rolling maul – that’s the game done there.”

    On the Tahs’ use of it against the Rebels, he said: “That was our first rolling maul try for as long as I can remember … it is something in attack we haven’t been great at. We’ve defended it reasonably well. But the Brumbies are really good and when we played [them] in the first round [in Sydney] that was something we really targeted of theirs. It will be crucial.”

    Waratahs No.10 Bernard Foley said having an effective rolling maul opens up their back play.

    “If we can be dominant in that area then teams are going to stick numbers there, or extra resources to stop that. That hopefully opens it up for somewhere else,” Foley said. “That’s just having that extra knife in the pocket where we can hurt sides … just something for them to look at so we can hopefully exploit them somewhere else.”

    However, Foley respects how formidable the Brumbies rolling maul can be, too. “They have been probably competition leaders in that … matching the South African sides in how well they go in that set piece and the rolling mauls,” Foley said.

    “That is the challenge for us this week – if we want to be in this competition for the rest of the season we have got to be able to stop teams there.”