“War is hell….” News from the Moruya Examiner of 24 November 1917


Shire-wide news extracts from the Moruya Examiner of 24 November 1917, provided by the Moruya & District Historical Society:

AN OUTSPOKEN SOLDIER – Private Oswald Harper, a young Moruya native, son of Mr. C. A. Harper and Mrs. Harper, now of Ashfield, in writing home says, among other things:-

“War is hell, but the only way to end it is to exterminate the Hun, that is what we are fighting for, and it will easily be done if those in power at home back us up, but party squabbles and petty squabbling are disheartening to a soldier at the front. He undergoes the most terrible hardships and lives under frightful conditions, no knowing what moment will be his last, does so in the hope that he will be relieved some time and food and sleep will soon be his. He has absolute confidence in his officers and commanders. Why shouldn’t he possess the same in his Government and in his countrymen?”

Private Harper it might be said has been dangerously wounded since the above was written and was an inmate of the Cumberland Hospital, but is now in the convalescent stage although still under a specialist for his hearing. He was in the famous Bullecourt battle where the Australians distinguished themselves. It is feared he will be permanently deaf. The bullet entered the back of the head and travelled on to the left eye, splintering all it came in contact with. Two and a half inches of temporal bone was removed. The bullet after lodging in the arch over the eye dropped down into the cheek. He had to undergo two serious operations, almost hopeless, but he pulled through! It proves what marvellous advances have been made in modern surgery during this war.

PROMOTION – Mr. Leslie Ross, son of Mr. J. Ross has been promoted to Flight Lieutenant in the Flying Corps.

LT James Stuart Leslie Ross 589 Australian Flying Corps A.I.F. – Photo courtesy of AWM
LT James Stuart Leslie Ross 589 Australian Flying Corps A.I.F. – Photo courtesy of AWM

KILLED IN ACTION – Private E. J. Sebbens of Mogo, previously reported missing, is now reported killed. We extend our sympathy to the relative of the plucky young Mogoite who has paid the supreme sacrifice for his King and Country.

ANTI-CONSCRIPTION – The public meeting convened by advertisement for Monday night to protest against Mr. Hughes’ Conscription Referendum was unquestionably one of the largest we have ever seen in Moruya. The Shire Hall could not accommodate more than about a third of those present with seats. Mr. G. Hanscom was called to the chair, and in a brief and sensible address explained the cause of the meeting. It was then unanimously decided to form an Anti-Conscription League, and the following officers were appointed, viz., Mr. Gregg Bishop President; Mrs. J. Heffernan (Mullenderree) Vice President; Mrs. G. Constable and Miss “Katie” Heffernan Joint Hon Secretaries, and Mr. P. Hoolahan Treasurer. Another meeting has been called for Wednesday, the 28th inst.



– Persons making false statements in connection with the Referendum are to be prosecuted.

– Mr. Hughes explains the compulsory reinforcements scheme covers men between the ages of 20 and 44 inclusive, and that a man will be liable to be called up until he has attained his 45th birthday.

– Reported that over a dozen mines have been picked up in the vicinity of Gabo. One brought up recently got away, and finally drifted ashore near Black Head, where a number of men were camped procuring grass-tree gum. When the mine hit the rock, about midnight, it exploded, throwing pieces over 200 yards inland, many of which fell in the camp, and the men thought the enemy was bombing them. Needless to say, there was a general stampede of men and horses. – Pambula “Voice.”

OYSTER DISEASE – A disease has attacked the oysters in parts of the Bermagui river, and it is estimated some hundreds of bags have died. A peculiarity of the disease is that it affects the oysters in patches, and is apparently new to the river. – Cobargo “Chronicle.”

RAIN FALL – Nice steady rain commenced falling on Wednesday night and continued without cessation up until 10 o’clock on Thursday night, giving the nice and acceptable record of 227 points in Moruya.

Eighteen 100 years ago booklets containing articles for the years 1899 to 1916 are available ($5 ea) from the Society’s rooms. Copies of local newspapers from the 1860s to date can be viewed at the Society’s Family History Research Centre (Ph 4474 3224) situated at the rear of the Museum in Campbell St. Moruya (www.mdhs.org.au).

The Moruya Museum houses a collection of furniture, books, artefacts and memorabilia that is intended to show visitors something of the lives of the ordinary people of this community from the middle of the nineteenth century. Most items on display were donated by local families.

To explore the museum’s online collection click HERE.

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