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Friday, 22 May 2015

RYDE GOES TO WAR book launched

The Ryde District Historical Society is pleased to announce that their latest publication, Ryde Goes to War 1914-1918, was launched by the Hon. Victor Dominello MP, Member for Ryde, at Willandra on Saturday 16 May.

Copies of the book are now available for purchase at $30 (AUD) plus postage $15 (for up to 2 copies within Australia; please enquire by email to for postage to any other locations).

An order form is on the left column of the blog. The contents list is also available to preview, in the left hand column.

The Hon. Victor Dominello MP, Member for Ryde, 
at Willandra on Saturday 16 May.

  1. Mr John Alexander, OAM,  MP Federal Member for Bennelong , also addressed the gathering

Descendants, families and friends joined Society members for the occasion.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Nellie Hill, a Ryde nurse who was awarded Royal Red Cross 1st Class

Week 23 : 18 March 2015 - The Northern District Times, page 23 - told the story of  Sister Nellie Hill.

Nellie Frances Hill was born in Hay, NSW in 1883. The sixth of the nine children of Henry & Catherine Hill. The family moved to Denistone House, Eastwood (now part of Ryde Hospital) in the early 1900s, where her father Henry died in 1912. By the time Nellie enlisted in 1914 her mother had moved to Epping.

Nellie embarked as a Staff Nurse with the Australian Army Nursing Service on board Transport A55 Kyarra on 8 November 1914. Two other local nurses Gwladys Llewellyn and Emily Broughton
Gwynne  were on the same voyage.

Nellie was promoted to Sister in December 1915. She undertook extensive service in the field as a theater sister in casualty clearing stations and hospitals on the Western Front.

She was awarded Royal Red Cross 1st Class for valuable service in France and Flanders

Her younger brother Richard William Hill (SERN 27347) enlisted in 1916 and served on the Western Front.

Sister evacuated for safety and a wedding
[if you click on the title -- it should take you to the on-line edition of the newspaper]

Link to : Australian Nurses in World War I database:

Sailor Tom Gascoigne had joined the Navy in 1912.

Ton Gascoigne was the son of the pioneering family who had a large family estate at Putney on the Parramatta River. Joining the Navy in 1912 as Ordinary Seaman, he served on the HMAS Cerberus until he was assigned to the HMAS Sydney  in June 1913. He was part of the Australian mission to destroy the radio station Rabaul at the beginning of the war. Promoted to a Able Seaman in October 1914, he was serving as a gunner in the victorious battle with the German light cruiser Emden when he lost a eye. It also ended his navel career but not his sense of humour which show through in this letter to family from Colombo Hospital.

A brief outline of his story was published in the weekly Ryde Remembers column.
Week 22 :  11 March 2015 - The Northern District Times, page 16 - the story of Thomas Gascoigne

Sailor Tom lost an eye in victory over Emden
[if you click on the title -- it should take you to the on-line edition of the newspaper]

Friday, 24 April 2015

Gladesville carpenter, Wallace Park was "a good and noble son".

Week 21 :  4 March 2015 - The Northern District Times, page 21 - the story of  Private WALLACE PARK, Service No. 2253.

Wallace was the son of well-known stonemason and builder James Park, He attended both Gladesville and North Ryde Public Schools before training as a carpenter under J.J. Dakin.

 In June 1915 he enlisted and arrived on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 6 August with the 6th Reinforcements of the 2nd Battalion. Two days later his status was listed as wounded in action during the Battle for Lone Pine. A Red Cross enquiry later updated his status to Killed in Action on August 8 1915.

His family's great sadness was turned into many memorials, the most well known being the Wallace Park Memorial Classroom at the Presbyterian Church of St Andrew in Gladesville, which was donated an built by his father and opened by his mother in May 1917.

Parks named after a Digger named Park
[if you click on the title -- it should take you to the on-line edition of the newspaper]

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Private Charles Norman Kenny of Ryde died on the Western Front in May 1917

Week 20 :  25 February 2015 - The Northern District Times, page 20 - the story of  Private Charles Norman Kenny, Service No. 4729.

Charles, a 24 year old clerk was the son of Charles and Ellen Kenny of Goodwin Street, Ryde. He enlisted in January 1916 and joined the 12th reinforcements of the 19th Battalion, He saw major battles in Ypres, Belgium, the Somme and the Second Battle of Bullecourt in France, before he received a fatal penetrating gun shot wound to the chest on the 3 May 1917.

 He was buried in Grevillers British Cemetery, France. His death was reported locally in the Cumberland Argus newspaper on May 26 1917.

Private Kenny's year of living dangerously
[if you click on the title -- it should take you to the on-line edition of the newspaper]

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Sydney University Professor James Pollock of Ryde, served to share his Physics expertise.

Week 19 :  18 February 2015 - The Northern District Times, page 19 - told the story of  Irish born, Sydney University Professor James Pollock, who had joined the AIF as a Captain in January 1916.
His expertise in physics saw him involved in many engineering schemes involving tunnelling and exploding mines both in the classroom and at the front line. He was later promoted to Major.

At the time Pollock was owner of the historic house The Hermitage, which had been built by John Blaxland (son of Blue Mountains explorer, Gregory Blaxland) in the 1840s.

Boffin played part in digging under Hill 60
[if you click on the title -- it should take you to the on-line edition of the newspaper]

Friday, 17 April 2015

Poppies and ANZAC events in Ryde April 2015

Knitted poppies have been popping up across the country this year and Ryde is no exception with the City of Ryde's Ryde Remembers 2000 poppy project. More information on Council website here

Details of  Commemorate services to be held across the district can be found here 
including the City of Ryde Anzac Service, Friday 24 April 2015, 9.30-10.15am service,
Location: Ryde Cenotaph, Ryde Park, Blaxland Road, Ryde.
For more information, contact the City of Ryde Events Team  on link above.

We have also been asked to share the details of the Ryde Hospital ANZAC service.
The service will be held at 10am on April 24. It will be conducted at the Flag Pole next to Denistone House, Ryde Hospital, Denistone Road, Eastwood. Following the service will be a short presentation about the history of medical and nursing care at Ryde Hospital.
Denistone House will be open as a museum on April 24 and 27 from 10am - 2pm, the public are welcome to attend during these hours and enjoy a cup of tea and ANZAC biscuit.

Last Sunday was the final Poppy making day at Ryde Library and it was wonderful to see so much interest form all ages across the district and to know that more than the original anticipated 2000 poppies have been completed. In the past week the poppies have made a home on the large letters R Y D E at different library branches. Next week they should come back to the main Library at Ryde and also be at the City of Ryde Anzac Service on Friday 24 April 2015.

Ryde's 2000 Poppies letter Y on display at Ryde Library, Sunday 12 April 2015.