Armistice Day Essay Competition: Winners

Armistice Day Essay Competition: Winners

Still had the debt from last your, to publish the winning entries. The RHSQ has received so many valuable thoughts, that it was hard to choose the most original works. On 10 December, on Separation Day, Hon. Jane Prentice MP congratulated the winners. Thanks to QBD the second and the third prize were book vouchers, the winner of the competition received an instant camera. Thank you for everyone who entered the competition, hope to see you this year’s competition as well. Please, read the winning entries from Toby, Addison and Reuben! Congratulations again!

” To me peace means a chance to live my life without fear. Without the fear of a bomb landing on my school or coming home t find my family dead. Peace means I don’t need to be afraid of being sent to defend and kill. War takes away our food and clean water and threatens our opportunity for education. To me peace means the chance to make most of my life to live and learn without all of these fears.
I am very grateful that I have never known war and I pray I never do. In my imagination I can see all the horrors of war.
To me peace means I can close my eyes and see a bright future  and so, without guns or bombs, peace is worth fighting for.”

Third Prize: Toby-Howard-Mowat (Camp Hill Infant and Primary School)
Stephen Sheaffe, President of the RHSQ, Addison Stecher, Hon. Jane Prentice MP

” What does peace mean for me? To me peace means a time with no fighting or war. A time of love and hope, a time when everybody is happy. The definition of peace is “freedom from disturbance; tranquillity”, to me this means that everyone can feel safe and secure and has the opportunity to speak freely about their beliefs and opinions without fear.We are so lucky that we have peace in our country and we need to recognize that people in other countries may not be as lucky as us. We also need to recognize that peace starts at home and at school, with family and friends. Peace starts with love and forgiveness and respecting other opinions and feelings. Peace can start with one person and that one person could be you or me, and all I would have to do is spread love and compassion to everybody.”

Second Prize: Addison Stecher (Camp Hill Infant and Primary School)
Reuben White

” I have no limit all – I can exist in many places,
But I can also be destroyed – along with many helpless faces,
I was fought for by many nations (and very few in their plan succeeded),
Others returned with nothing – despite how much they pleaded,
I’ve been destroyed by war; by fights (and other things),
It has ruined me – what a terrible outcome war brings!
My job in this cruel world is to make the warfare cease,
Try and guess what I am – that’s rights! I am peace.”

First Prize: Reuben White (Runcorn Heights State School)
From the Archives: Monument to the Pioneers of the sugar industry, Innisfail

From the Archives: Monument to the Pioneers of the sugar industry, Innisfail

When the people of Innisfail prepared to take part in the centenary celebrations marking 100 years since Queensland was proclaimed a state:1859-1959, the Italian community in Innisfail raised £5,000.  They organised a statue to honour the pioneers of the sugar industry using the same marble chosen by Michelangelo for his masterpieces.  By the time thecelebrations took place a life size marble statue of a cane-cutter made in Carrara arrived from Italy.

      Erected on the Esplanade,overlooking the Johnstone River near the junction of Edith and Rankin Streets, it is set on a square plinth in an octagonal pool with water spouts on the sides featuring sea creatures. 
The Inscription on the monument is:

To the Pioneers
of the sugar
Donated by the Italian
Community of Innisfail
on the first centenary
of the state of Queensland

Immigrants from Malta, Spain and Yugoslavia came to live and work in Innisfail and joined the Italians in the development of the sugar industry which, from 1864, brought great prosperity to North Queensland. For some years indentured Melanesian labour, known as Kanaka, was used in the cutting of cane, but this was halted in 1885.  By 1891 large numbers of Italians arrived and the cane fields spread along the Queensland coast providing work for more and more hard-working immigrants, who cut the cane by hand until it was phased out by the 1960s and 1970s. 

References: National Trust of Queensland Journal, no. 9, April 1998, pp.23, 24. ; RHSQ vertical file, no. 2760; RHSQ Central Photographic Bureau, Book 2, No. 2128

Bankfoot House and Grigor family, Glasshouse Mountains

Bankfoot House and Grigor family, Glasshouse Mountains

Bankfoot House was established in 1868 by William and Mary Grigor. The residence was a stopover for Cobb & Co coaches, which travelled to the Goldfields, between Brisbane to Gympie. Travellers would stop in for lunch or overnight. They would pay one shilling for a meal, one shilling for a bed and one shilling for the horses’feed and stable. The property also had its own dairy cattle and Post Office. In the early 1890’s a railway was built, so the Post Office was moved to the Glasshouse Railway station and William Grigor became the postmaster there. Bankfoot remained as a lodging house and often accommodated visitors, who came to climb the nearby mountains. The property remained in the family for three generations, the Grigor, Burgess and Ferries families, for over 130 years. It remains the oldest surviving residence in the Glasshouse Mountains. It was bought by the Caloundra City Council in 2002, after the death of the last resident, Jack Ferris. Today it is a house museum, Bankfoot House. Reference:

Bankfoot House
Hotels - “Bankfoot House” being demolished
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George Chester, the ‘Banana Case Baron’

George Chester, the ‘Banana Case Baron’

Italian workers carrying bunches of bananas to conveyor on Mr G. Chester’s plantation,Upper Commera 1954. P54487

Upper Coomera is located in the Gold Coast region and was first explored in 1827 by Captain Patrick Logan. It was initial a prominent area for its farming of sugar and maize and timber-getting for red ceder. However, by the 1950’s half of the agriculturalists were dairy farmers and there were also a few banana and fruit farmers[i]. One of these Banana farmers was George Chester, also known as the ‘Banana Case Baron’. He claimed to be the largest single banana producer in the Commonwealth, growing up to 35 tons per week. He also owned a sawmill in Pimpanan, where he would manufacture the banana cases and use the surplus timber to build new homes, largely in the suburb of Mt. Gravatt. He would become the first Brisbane’s sub-divider and home building[ii].Many of his workers were Italian migrants, who lived in rent free homes and arracks that he built for them[iii].



From the Archives: Letters from France

From the Archives: Letters from France

William Thomson Waddell, son of Allan and Margaret Waddell was born and brought up in Irvinebank, a rich mining town in North Queensland, where he spent five years apprenticed to Irvinebank M CC(Contract Mining and Services) and became an engineer.

            In August 1914 he took part in military training in Cairns, Townsville, Thursday Island and Port Moresby, (at the time when Australian seamen landed in German New Guinea and captured 7 Germans and 20 natives).  During this exercise he criticised the organisation for having only 12 WCs for 1200 men. The unit was disbanded.        

            By 4 June 1915, this fair skinned, blue-eyed, dark haired, sturdy Australian of twenty-four years, medically fit and determined to serve, was enlisted in Brisbane as number 1768 and joined the Second Reinforcement to the Twenty-fifth Battalion.

            Throughout his army career he wrote to his family, especially his older brother Allan Ferguson Waddell and several of his hand written letters are in the archives of the RHSQ where they are treasured and made available for serious research.

            William’s first active service was on the Gallipoli Peninsular from 12 October 1915 but by 19 March 1916 he was sent, ex Mudros, to join the British Expeditionary Forces in Marseilles. William was careful not to include information in his letters that might benefit the enemy and none of his letters needed censoring. After training in England, he wrote to his brother, Allan Ferguson Waddell, (Gus) on 24 April 1916:

William Waddell's letters 1916-18
Waddell_March 12 1918
12 March 1918
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Dear Gus,

Back in France … left England on 9th and here next morning! …fields are looking lovely, potatoes are just being planted and the fruit trees are in full flourish … I feel alright myself though very soft and could have done with some more training before being sent over. … your affectionate brother, Willie                                                                                                                               

From there he served in Armentiers naming his location merely as France and wrote a long letter to his father on 6 June 1916:

Dear Dad,

… About six weeks ago I got made a Lance Corporal, it’s the first step upfrom a private.  We all get on well with our senior NCOs and Officers. … The shell the Germans rely on to do most of their work with is the 5’9″ Howitzer. … if they hit anything hard like a brick wall they do a tremendous amount of damage. … Both sides use a lot of white flares at nights.  The German ones were supposed to be superior to ours, but I don’t think there is much difference now. … Both sides have parachute flares which go up about 100 ft and then comedown very slowly. … Where we are just now we can get a quart of fresh milk for 3d. We are fed fairly well by the authorities but there is not enough bread.The biscuits are as hard a[s] rocks, … Up till about a month ago we had an issue of rum once or twice a week but it has been cut out. … I get letters from Mother, the girls and Gus almost every week. The mail gets mixed up sometimes and then they come all of a bunch. I have a letter from Isabel Moffatt that I will answer as soon as possible. Give my kindest regards to Mr and Mrs Moffatt, Bessie and Isabel. 

Your loving son

Willie T Waddell

            William was wounded with a gun shot wound to his right leg at Pozieres in July 1916.After treatment in France he was sent to war hospitals in England and once fit for duty rejoined the 25th Battalion on 23 December 1916.  Soon after his return he was promoted to  corporal and very soon after to lance sergeant.

            Wounded on the left thigh on 18th September 1917 at Passchendaele he was transferred to the 53rd General Hospital  and from thereto England where he was admitted to the Middlesex War Hospital.  Allan Waddell, was advised on 8th November 1917 that Lance Sergeant W T Waddell was admitted to ‘County of Middlesex War Hospital 23/9/17 suffering from gun shot wound left side, severe’.

            Either at Middlesex or Dartford Hospital William was operated on for acute appendicitis and his father was notified by 16th January 1918 that Base Records Office were advised that ‘1768 Sergeant W T Waddell has been reported convalescent’.  His father received a message always much later than the event itself : ‘Sergeant William Waddell progressing favourably.  Base Records  17/12/17.’

            By 19th December William was transferred to AAH Dartford and then by 30th December 1917 on to Hurdcott and declared fit to serve less than four months later. So he rejoined his unit in France on 12th April 1918. He wrote to his brother Gus on 12th March 1918:

 … my hair is getting very grey, it may be natural but I think “Fritz” has made a lot of it come.  A ‘Tommy’ is not asked to go back after an operation … I have to do guards here now, a nightmare… I note what you say about politics conscription etc. … To my mind Lloyd George and William Hughes should be allowed to run their war with the soldiers. … Your affectionate brother,


            On the Western Front the second division with Allied counter offensive forces crossed the Somme at night on 30 August 1918 led by General John Monash and broke lines at Mont St Quentin and Peronne. After changing the plan of attack somewhat the allied forces, including 25th battalion, AIF, recaptured Mont St Quentin over three days.  Although 20% of their men were lost in casualties, the battle was considered one of the finest achievements of World War I.  Sadly, in this battle, so close to the end of the war, on 2nd September 1918, Sergeant William Thomson Waddell was killed in action.

            His body was temporarily buried near a shell hole and some barbed wire but it was later exhumed and Allan Waddell was advised that ‘William Thomson Waddell’s remains were re-interred in Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension with every measure of care and reverence in the presence of a chaplain’.

            On 10th May 1919 Margaret Taylor Waddell signed a receipt for ‘one package containing the effects of the late No. 1768 Sgt W T Waddell [her son], 25th Battalion in good order’.   Then on 2nd September 1921 Allan Waddell received a copy of the Memorial Scroll and on 21st November 1922 a copy of the Memorial Plaque. As next of kin Allan Waddell received his son’s medals by 28th May 1920:the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Beth Johnson


  • RHSQ Archive Boxes 55 and 93.
  • Australian National Archives
  • Australian War Memorial
  • Roll of Honour of Australia in the Memorial War Museum