[Editor: This article, regarding Armistice Day (later known as Remembrance Day) commemorations in Williamstown (Victoria), was published in the Williamstown Chronicle (Williamstown, Vic.), 15 November 1930.]
Armistice Day 1930.
A bright, blue Australian sky above, blue sparkling waters lapping almost to the foot of a stately monument. Streets spreading away lined with trees in their fresh spring foliage. Across the bright waters a great city, scarcely visible, in a soft mist.
Around the monument are clustered a group of people. At its foot stands a speaker, bare-headed in the sun; his coat bears that mark of imperishable glory, a returned soldier’s badge. He speaks earnestly to those assembled — old men and women, younger men, girls, children. Then another speaker, and then a bugler steps forward and high and clear ring out the notes of the Last Post. And the people bow their heads and stand in silence. And then they come, that “Deathless Army.” To almost everyone present it seems they see again some strong, eager, young Australian, who gave his all, and trod the thorny way that they might stand in peace to-day. Perhaps to those war-worn men present, whose badges tell they are comrades of the fallen, they do not seem so young, so bright, so eager, but tired and worn as they saw them last. But to all they come. Then a gun fires, the whistles of nearby works sound, and the simple ceremony of remembrance is over for another year.
But one realises that those few minutes have lifted those present to a higher level, have given them once more the vision of the “Greater Love” that gives itself, and that they will “carry on” in the spirit of that beautiful poem of Ella McFadyen’s, “You Who Come After Them”:
“You who come after them, you shall have reaping
Ease for the pain they bore, joy since they sighed,
For the long watch they kept, you shall have sleeping;
You shall live greatly, because they have died.”
At the Cenotaph.
Over 300 citizens assembled at the Cenotaph on Tuesday morning, where a brief remembrance service was held. The Mayor and Mayoress were accompanied by Crs. Nelson, Briggs, W. Gray, Harvey, Crow and Owens, and the acting town clerk. Lieut. Trevaskis (Navy) and many ex-soldiers and sailors were in the assemblage, while the Mums and Dads were also well represented.
Cr. Briggs (president of the local R.S. and S.I.L.A. branch) invited anyone to place wreaths on the Cenotaph, and the Mayoress deposited one on behalf of the council, while girl guides, mothers and relatives of fallen lads placed their tributes at the shrine.
After the Last Post by Bugler Boughton, the assemblage stood in silence for two minutes, and proceedings closed with a brief prayer by Rev. G. Muller.
Williamstown Chronicle (Williamstown, Vic.), 15 November 1930, p. 3
For the purposes of this post, the sub-title (“At the Cenotaph.”) has been put in bold text.
Cr. = an abbreviation of “Councillor”
Crs. = an abbreviation of “Councillors”
Deathless Army = the “army” of the spirits of soldiers who have died (there is an implication that, as spirits, they have an immortal quality, and therefore never have to face death again); the title of a popular song from 1891 (music by H. Trotere and words by F. E.Weatherly)
See: 1) “He marched in a Deathless Army: Private John James Gusthart, Canadian Infantry, 20th May 1917, age 33”, Epitaphs of the Great War
2) “Lance Fairfax – The Deathless Army 1939”, British Pathé [includes a video of Lance Fairfax singing “The Deathless Army”]
Ella McFadyen = Ella May McFadyen (1887-1976), a poet, journalist, and author; she was born in Petersham (Sydney, NSW) in 1887, and died in Lane Cove (Sydney) in 1976
See: 1) Emily Gallagher, “McFadyen, Ella May (1887–1976)”, People Australia (National Centre of Biography, Australian National University)
2) “Ella McFadyen”, Wikipedia
Last Post = a musical tune played (usually with a bugle) in a military facility, or at a military-related ceremony, in countries of the British Commonwealth; historically, bugle calls were played during an officer’s inspection of posts in Army encampments, and when the final (or last) post had been inspected, the Last Post tune was played, and therefore signalled that the day’s general duties were over, and that the daytime personnel could retire for the night; later on, the tradition arose of playing the Last Post at military funerals, and at remembrance services
See: 1) “The story of the Last Post”, BBC, 11 November 2015
2) “Last Post”, Wikipedia
Lieut. = an abbreviation of “Lieutenant”
Rev. = an abbreviation of “Reverend” (a title given to a minister of a church, a priest, a member of the clergy)
R.S. and S.I.L.A. = Returned Sailors and Soldiers’ Imperial League of Australia: an organisation founded in 1916, dedicated to the welfare and well-being of returned servicemen (the organisation’s name was abbreviated as RSSILA); the name of the organisation was changed to the Returned Sailors’, Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia (RSSAILA) in 1940, it became the Returned Services League of Australia (RSL) in 1965, and then became the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) in 1990
See: 1) “A Historical Perspective of the RSL”, Emu Park RSL Sub Branch
2) “Returned and Services League of Australia”, Wikipedia