Sparing the family from the horrors of the Western Front – News from 100 years ago


Shire-wide news extracts from the Moruya Examiner of 12 January 1918, provided by the Moruya & District Historical Society:

FROM THE FRONT – Mrs. W. Costin, of Narooma, is receipt of the following from her son, Pte. Arthur Costin, who has been awarded the military medal for conspicuous bravery: –

31st October, 1917.
“Your very welcome letter to hand from some considerable time back and I am looking forward to getting another shortly. It is about two weeks since I wrote you last. We only came out of the line a few days ago after having a pretty rough trot of it, being up and down from supports to the front line for a fortnight, and not having a chance of writing, but as far as I can hear we will be going out for a few weeks spell in a day or two billets in France. I suppose you will have heard before you get this letter of my distinction, being awarded a military medal. No doubt you will have heard of the Zonnebecke race course where the “Ausies” have been fighting well, that’s the place I was recommended for dispatch carrying under heavy shell fire (or running as we call it), and rough conditions, rain and mud, the latter very often being up to one’s waist.

I have the colors to wear, which I am enclosing a piece of, but have not yet the medal as that will be presented by some big head- such as General Birdwood or the King. By jove Frank was lucky, I had a letter from him a few days ago. He was saying that one of the chaps in the camp was skylarking with a loaded rifle and shot him in the foot, meaning a couple of months in hospital. I don’t mind telling you that Blighty would do me just at present for a bit of a spell. From your loving son and brother, ARTHUR”

The village of Zonnebecke that is mentioned in the letter was right on the Western front and next to where the fierce battle of Polygon Wood too place.

FOR SALE – A first –class double barrel hammerless gun. A bargain. A. W Constable, “Examiner” Office.

VITAL STATISTICS – Following are the returns of births, deaths and marriages in the district of Moruya, registered during the quarter ended 31st of December, 1917: – Marriages – 1; births – males 13, females 14, total 27; deaths – males 2, females 3, total 5.

HEAVY HAULING – There is no doubt whatever in the fact that Moruya in the past has ably held its end of the stick up in the matter of heavy log-hauling, more especially by Messrs A. Crapp and H. Waters who used to astonish the natives by the great circumference of the forest monsters they frequently brought into town. Both these expert teamsters have now retired into other avocations of a less laborious nature and their mantle has fallen fully on the shoulders of William Crapp, brother of our big-hearted friend “Alf” who has taken over the log-supply contract for Saxon & Binns through Allan Taylor. Mr. W. Crapp has now a first-class team of seven big well-conditioned horses, and being a driver of considerable experience is now bringing in immense logs left by his predecessors and others as too cumbersome and weighty for haulage.

BURNING FATALITY – The year 1918 opened sadly for the Boyle family of Nerrigundah, as on its first day Miss Boyle met with such a terrible burning accident that she succumbed a few days after. It appears that the unfortunate lady was cooking the dinner when her clothes caught fire. Her screams immediately attracted the attention of her two brothers, one of which was severely burnt about the hands and arms when extinguishing the flames. Medical advice was sought and Dr. Quilter ordered the victim into the local hospital. Despite all the care and attention however she passed peacefully away early on Sunday morning at the age of 44 years. Deceased leaves a mother, four brothers, James, John, William and Robert and two sisters, Mrs. Atfield (Queensland) and Mrs. W. Jessop (Nerrigundah).

RAINFALL – Heavy rain fell on Thursday night and Friday morning, 144 points having been registered up to 9 a.m. yesterday.
Nineteen 100 years ago booklets containing articles for the years 1899 to 1917 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 (

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.

One response to “Sparing the family from the horrors of the Western Front – News from 100 years ago”

  1. Jo... Avatar

    Well done Brian

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