Website becomes a book

It has been five years since the research began on the men and women from the Surf Coast Shire who enlisted in World War One.

The results of the research into the honour boards and memorials that identified some of their community members has been published on this website in the early stages of the research. Since then over one hundred more names have been found and yet to be added to the website.

Now the research has been exhausted, the information has now been compiled into a book due to be launched next week. I would like to thank the supporters of the website and Facebook page who have contributed to extending the knowledge of one or more veterans and also for your support and encouragement of the research.

Through Torquay Museum Without Walls this comprehensive 460 page book, covering the 700 men and women from the Surf Coast Shire who enlisted will be distributed to local schools, public libraries, history groups, RSLs, as well as to families who assisted in providing details of family members who fought in the Great War or helped with relevant photographs and artefacts.

The book is abundantly illustrated. Seventeen short historical chapters deal with different aspects of the war, recognizing local veterans experience over those five years. The chapters discuss how they prepared for war, their experience at Gallipoli, the Western Front, the sinking of HMAT Ballarat, being part of the Charge of the Light Horse Brigade and the experiences of those left behind. There are letters from home and messages in bottles thrown overboard by those leaving our shores. The core of the book is the investigation into the location of the local memorials and honour boards, their history and who the men and women identified on these honour boards and memorials are. Wonderful photographs accompany each story.

Details of purchasing a printed or digital copy will be available soon.


Elizabeth (Lila) Hunter

Matron Elizabeth Hunter, M.B.E known as Lila, died at the age of 74 in the Waverley War Memorial Hospital in Sydney where she had been administrator for many years.
Lila was one of thirteen children born to Thomas and Catherine Hunter, farmers at Wurdale. After her training at Geelong Hospital she was a nurse at the Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne before being a director of hospitals at Corowa, Honolulu and the US.
When the war broke out two of her brothers and her brother-in-law, Luke Monkovitch (KIA) joined the AIF. Lila went to England and joined the Queen Alesandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve (QAIMNSR) on 6th June 1915, where she was appointed Matron at Hawarden Castle, a hospital for English officers. From there she took to the field as a Red Cross Matron in France, Malta, and Germany where she evacuated wounded German prisoners.
After the war she came home and in 1920, became the first Matron of the first Methodist Hospital in NSW even though she was an Anglican. Offers from Geelong Hospital and other attractive positions in Victoria couldn’t sway her to return home. She stayed with the hospital which became known as the Waverley War Memorial Hospital for 24 years before her retirement, building the hospital from a small 19 bed facility to a 130 bed hospital. Lila received the M.B.E. for her services to the nursing profession in the 1941 King’s Birthday Honours. After her retirement she maintained her interest in nursing as a member of the A.T.N.A executive. Just prior to her passing the doctors of the hospital commissioned her portrait, a canvas oil painting, by the well-known artist Joshua Smith; which was entered into the 1948 Archibald Prize.