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Barker H A  Pte 43

Page history last edited by Lenore Frost 1 year ago

Volunteers of Essendon and Flemington, 1914-1918


Private H A Barker, Australian War Memorial

Collection. http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/A05530


Barker H A  Pte 43    Harold Arthur      7 Inf Bn    21    Salesman    Single    C of E       

Address: Ascot Vale, Waratah St, 18   

Next of Kin:  Barker, A, 18 Waratah St, Ascot Vale   

Enlisted: 17 Aug 1914       

Embarked: A20 Hororata 19 Oct 1914

Prior service:      2½ years Cadets      

Awards:  DCM  


Relatives on Active Service:

Barker F C Sapper 18556  brother

Walker K L L Cpl 438 cousin

Barker Herbert QMS  uncle,   8 Inf Bn


One Thousand Days with the AIF


Mentioned in correspondence, etc

Presentation to Nurse A Jacobson at Mrs Barker's residence, Essendon Gazette, circa May 1915

Provided a Guard of Honour for the Governor General, Lord Forster, at the laying of the RSSILA foundation stone, 1920

Parish Magazine March 1915 p9

Essendon Gazette 13 May 1915

St Thomas' Parish Magazine January 1916

St Thomas' Harriers  Essendon Gazette references, incl 11 Nov 1915

News in Winner 15 Mar 1916

Letter from W H Crapp published in Winner 29 Nov 1916

Letter from H L Fynmore, published in The Winner, 8 August 1917


See group photo at Broadmeadows Camp, 1914 Jacobsohn J R Pte 48

See group photo the day after the Gallipoli evacuation  Bowman F S Pte 44


Sir,-My son writing to me from the Dardanelles states that paper and envelopes are almost unobtainable.  Might I suggest that when writing there, let everyone do as we intend to do in the future - enclose a spare sheet and envelope:- -Yours, &c   
Ascotvale, July 8.

The Argus 9 July 1915 



News has just been received that Lieut. Harold Barker, of Waratah st., Ascot Vale, whose deeds with the machine gun at the landing were the subject of a special cable message by the war correspondent, has been awarded the  distinguished conduct medal and mentioned in despatches for conspicuous gallantry. He is at present having a holiday at Mudros Island, having been in every action from 25th April  to 22nd July, without receiving any  injury.

Essendon Gazette 2 Sep 1915





News has been received by this mail that   Lieutenant Harold Barker, nephew of Mr. Fred. Barker, has been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for conspicuous gallantry on the day of landing of the first contingent. The special correspondent of the "Age" cabled on 5th June particulars of his heroic action with machine guns, which he repaired and replaced on four different occasions when they were located and blown up by Turkish shells, and for which he was raised from a lance-corporal to a lieutenant. Lieutenant Barker is a Bendigonian by birth, although he has been a resident of Melbourne from his childhood, and is a son of Mr. Arthur Barker, stationer, of Royal Arcade, Melbourne. 

BENDIGO OFFICER HONORED. (1915, September 3). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918), p. 8. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91091644


DCM Winner

Lieut Harold Barker, St Thomas' Harrier


Lieutenant Harold Barker, who has also gained the Distinguished Conduct Medal, assumed command and

continued working a gun under heavy shell-fire after the officers and non commissioned officers of the

machine gun section had been wounded. He was then a lance-corporal. He is 22 years of age, and one

of the the most popular lads in the 7th Battalion. At the memorable landing at Gaba Tepe he attended

to a number of wounded comrades amid showers of shrapnel, as a result of which he was called "The

Little Hero." He was born at Bendigo, and educated at the Ascot Vale State school. He is the son of Mr

and Mrs Arthur Barker, of 18 Waratah street, Ascot Vale, and the eldest of a family of ten.

Prior to enIisting the young officer was a buyer for a city hardware firm, but in his spare hours he showed

remarkable ingenuity as an amateur engineer, and his room is filled with models of engines of his own construction. Lieutenant Barker's artistic skill is shown in the home by a number of dainty water-colour studies and pen-and-ink sketches which adorn the walls.

"We are all proud of the distinction won by our son," said Mrs Barker this morning. "His last letter I received
this week from Heliopolis, where he has been enjoying a rest. He is very modest, but stated that he would be proud to receive the distinction, with a knowledge that he had done his best for his home and country.

Being of slight build, he had three tries before he succeeded in joining the colors."


(1915, September 9). The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 - 1954), p. 1.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article242406969




Mr Harold Barker has been awarded the distinguished conduct medal for gallantry in action at Gallipoli. Barker, operated his machine gun under great difficulties, repaired it Under heavy fire, and was later instrumental in bringing in wounded men, on the successful carrying out of all of which the ex-treasurer of St. Thomas' Harriers is to be heartily congratulated.

Athletics. (1915, October 6). Winner (Melbourne, Vic. : 1914 - 1917), p. 6. Retrieved September 19, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article155526564



News has been received by Mr. Arthur Barker, of Ascotvale, that his eldest son, Lieutenant Harold Barker, D.C.M., has been made a captain.

Wednesday 20 September 1916

Cite: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1592054




Ascot Vale State School Noble Deeds






Barker, Harold, Captain.

Brigadier General Elliott says of him: -


“One who distinguished himself above his fellows was Harold Barker. He was not a member of the CMF at the time, but enlisted in the 7th Battalion in August 1914, and was posted to the Machine Gun Section under Lieut Whitelaw. Soon afterwards he was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal, and whilst holding that rank Barker landed with the Battalion on the 25th day of April, 1915, at Gallipoli.


Lance Corporal Barker and  Private G Hill (left) in a belt-filling shelter in reserve

to 7th Machine Gun position on Gallipoli, at about 3 pm on 25 April 1915.

Photo donated by H A Barker, AWM Collection http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/J05578


At the spot where the boat, in which his detachment was, grounded, the water was deep close to the shore, and into this her stern projected. Misfortune at once overtook the detachment in the loss of one of the three guns with which they were armed, through one of the men leaping overboard with it at the stern into the deep water as soon as the boat grounded, and being obliged to let the gun go to save himself.


The web belts carrying the ammunition for the guns also fell into the water, and after being with difficulty recovered were found to have expanded and become temporarily useless. The detachment nevertheless pushed forward and were ordered by a staff officer to take up a position in the firing line beyond Monash Gully, where they were exposed to a severe shell fire, and suffered heavy casualties. Corporal Golding1 had been mortally wounded on the beach, and Lieut Whitelaw2 and Sergt East Almond3 were speedily incapacitated by severe and dangerous wounds. Both guns were severely damaged and indeed almost destroyed .


In a dugout of the 7th Battalion Machine Gun Section, behind Courtney's Post, Gallipoli Peninsula, late in the day on 26 April 1915. Identified, left to right: 56 Private (Pte) Frank Walker, of Bendigo, Vic, who enlisted on 18 August 1914 an later served as a Quartermaster Sergeant with the 15th Machine Gun Battalion. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) on 1 January 1918; 998 Pte Kenneth Muirson, of Christchurch, New Zealand, who enlisted on 10 September 1914, who was later commissioned as a captain and received the Military Cross (MC) and Bar, and Lance Corporal Harold Barker, also later commission as a captain and who received a DCM.  Australian War Memorial Collection. http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/J05577


The command of the detachment was thereupon assumed by Lance Corporal Barker, who managed from the remnants of the two guns to construct one serviceable weapon, and maintained it in action throughout that day and the succeeding days. This gun played a prominent part in checking the counter attacks of the Turks upon our position. Lance Corporal Barker thus won the Distinguished Conduct Medal, and was shortly afterwards promoted to Commissioned Rank.


He served throughout the Gallipoli Campaign until the evacuation in December 1915.


Top left:  Lt Harold Barker, Frank Stanley Bowman, Pte Frank Matthews. 

Front left: Pte Charles Henry McGregor, and Pte Frank Walker, taken the day

after the evacuation. Taken 20 Dec 1918.


Turkish prisoners in the French compound at Lemnos on 1 Aug 1915.  The photo was

donated to the AWM by H A Barker.  http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/J05595


In France later on he was promoted to the rank of captain, and commanded the 2nd Brigade Machine Gun Company. During a battle in the Somme area he was dangerously wounded.


It is to be remembered that the landing at Gallipoli was the baptism of fire of our boys and they found themselves plunged at once into the inferno of modern warfare, and Barker and his companions exhibited that initiative and enterprise which made the Australian soldier pre-eminent in war”.


1 830 Corporal David Golding enlisted in New South Wales. He was killed in action in France on 9 April 1917.

2 Lieut John Stewart Whitelaw of Hawthorn. He had been at the Royal Military College before the war.

3 No 41 Staff Sergeant Major Geoffrey Nicholson East-Almond had been on the Instructional Staff prior to the war.



Harold Barker on the left and Herbert Barker, QMS 8th Bn on the right, in the trenches at

Gallipoli, 1915. Australian War Memorial Collection  http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/J05591



[An extract from the same letter published in the Essendon Gazette on 22 July 1915

described the letter as being dated 3/6/15.]


Quartermaster·Sergeant Barker*, writing to his brother, Mr. Fred. Barker; says: "Our fellows have done magnificent work, and we were up in time to be in the thick of it. The chief (Sir Ian Hamilton) cannot say too much about the Australians, and our men are full of heart and ready for anything. We had scarcely any time in Egypt, and were lucky in being rushed to the front so soon. We have been under fire ever since we landed here, and have now got quite used to it. I have been very lucky up to now - got scarcely a scratch, although men have been shot and wounded all round me. Dr. Jackson is with us, and has done splendid work ever since the, first charge. He has faced the music like a hero, and the boys think the world of him. Young Harold (Lieutenant Barker) and I have been right alongside each other for the last month, and he has made a big name for himself. I am extremely proud of him, as he has shown him-self absolutely without fear, and has shown pluck far above the ordinary. His officer and sergeant were both blown out in the first charge, and his gun disabled. In the face of the hottest fire he fixed up the gun and worked her; was promoted to sergeant straight away, and recommended for a commission. This has now come along, and he is now lieutenant. Just as we were leaving the trenches (being relieved), a S.M. of the 7th, was shot dead, and dropped at my feet. I can tell you it was a bit of a shock for the time being, especially as another bullet went over my shoulder as I stooped to pick him up. Two days later another chap got a bullet through the chest while we were talking together, and I was not touched, so my mascotte must be looking after me. I am quite well, and only got one clout on the wrist from a piece of shrapnel.


We were in a great state about Ken. (Lieutenant Walker), a nephew of Mr. Barker. He was missing after the first wild charge, and no trace of him was to be found. Could not find him amongst the killed, and a number were buried before we got up, and his name was not amongst the wounded. However, we at last got news that he had been wounded, and had been take on a hospital ship to Egypt. He is all right now, and I expect to see him any day now."


An extract from the same letter published in the Essendon Gazette on 22 July 1915 described this letter as being dated 3/6/15.

*  Quarter Master Sergeant Herbert Barker, a 44 machinery traveller from Bendigo.





A fine tribute to the bravery, resourcefulness, and perseverance of Lance-Corporal Harold Barker, which won him a commission as a lieutenant at the Dardanelles, is contained in a letter from a fellow soldier of the gallant Victorian to his father, a police constable at Moonee Ponds. The letter is published in the "Sporting Judge," and from it we have culled the following extract:—


"I owe my life to Harold Barker. Midst all the fire and fury, he left the gun (Lieutenant  Barker was in charge of a machine-gun) when I was wounded, dragged me to a place of safety, went back to again face death, working the gun or dragging back as he did me more of his wounded comrades." "Lance-Corporal Barker's deeds won him recognition in the form of a commission," says the "Sporting Judge," "but is there not something in that story for a father to be proud of? Is there not a lot in it for Australians to be proud of?'' Lieutenant Barker is a son of Mr. Arthur Barker, who at one time conducted a book arcade in Atkinson's Buildings, View street. Mr. Barker removed to Melbourne many years ago, where he is now a well known bookmaker. Lieutenant Barker is a nephew of Mr. Fred. Barker, the much respected Bendigo sharebroker, and a cousin of Lieutenant Kenneth L. Walker, whose death from wounds received at the  Dardanelles was chronicled in yesterday's issue. That Lieutenant Barker is continuing his gallant conduct at the front is demonstrated by the fact that since he performed the deed referred to above he has been mentioned in despatches.


HEROIC VICTORIAN. (1915, July 31). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918), p. 4. Retrieved June 9, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91085447


Essendon Gazette 9 Sep 1915

In a letter received from Lieut. Harold Barker, D.C.M., the following extracts from same may interest readers:-Stanley Bowman is a corporal and is doing well. Roly Ransom was made a lance-corporal two days ago for gallantry in the trenches. Rud Jacobsen returned from hospital yesterday, and the much-battered gun section once more is like of old. H. Prunty has recovered, and is doing duty at either Malta or Alexandria. Your "send-off'" to H. Manners was an interesting affair, and the "Gazette" report of it was read with interest. Jim Bowtell is now a signalling sergeant, and is proving his worth as a conscientious young soldier. Frank Matthews returned yesterday. The flies here are something awful, and I've never met their equal any where else. Colonel ------* is back with us, and is a man in the fullest sense of the word. You should have heard the cheering when he returned. He came quietly up the hill at 5 a.m., and one chap who was awake suddenly jumped up and shouted: "Why, here's Colonel ---- ." You can imagine the rest.


WITH THE COLOURS. (1915, September 9). The Essendon Gazette and Keilor, Bulla and Broadmeadows Reporter (Moonee Ponds, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 5 Edition: Morning.. Retrieved January 14, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74590028


Lt Colonel Elliott


BARKER - On the 11th June (suddenly), at "Cardeila," 15 Waratah street, Ascotvale, Frank  Stribley, youngest beloved son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Barker; brother of Lieut. Harold Barker, D.C.M., on active service in France, aged 4 years 11 months.

Family Notices. (1916, June 12). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 1. Retrieved June 9, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2112417




Essendon Gazette 23 Sep 1915, p 5.


Lieutenant Harold Barker, probably the most popular lad in the glorious but ill-starred 7th Battalion, has gained the Distinguished Conduct Medal, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Barker, who reside at 18 Waratah street, Ascot Vale, have been the recipients of a flood of congratulations from a host of friends of the young soldier who have watched with admiration his deeds of heroism, as reported from time to time, since the gallant landing at Gaba Tepe on the 25th April-a red-letter day in Australian history for generations to come.


Harold Barker was only 21 years of age when he enlisted, and his 22nd birthday was celebrated in Egypt a few weeks prior to the descent of the Australians on Gallipoli. He was born at Bendigo and educated at the Ascot Vale State school, where he was noted as a remarkably smart pupil. Being of very slight build he had some difficulty in being accepted as a member of the Australian Expeditionary Forces, and it was not till his third attempt that he succeeded in getting through the tests and went into camp at Broadmeadows. After leaving school, the subject of our sketch accepted a position in a Melbourne hardware establishment, but it is clear that he had mistaken his calling, for like James Watt, he spent practically all his spare hours in studying mechanical problems. At his parents' residence may be seen many models of engines of his own construction. His genius also ran in the direction of electricity, and it is am using to recall that among the wire less installations which had to be dis mantled by order of the authorities when the war broke out was one fitted up at his parents' house by the amateur engineer. With such decided leanings it is not to be wondered at that his first acquaintance with the modern machine gun, which took place at Broadmeadows, presented a new and hitherto unknown field for the exercise of his mechanical talents. His delight on coming into touch with the death dealing implement of warfare was expressed in a series of pen-and-ink  sketches of the different sections of the gun now in the possession of his parents. It is necessary to emphasise these facts, as they serve to explain the achievement which led to his winning the distinction which has just been conferred on him.


At Gaba Tepe, on 25th April, when the officer and non-commissioned officers of a machine gun section had been wounded, Lieutenant Barker (then a lance-corporal) assumed the command and continued working under heavy shell fire. At one time the enemy entered the trench, but all were killed. The machine guns were rendered useless one after another. Lance Corporal Barker collected the parts, finally working two guns composed of the parts of at least seven others. Truly, his study of the machine gun at Broadmeadows had borne good   fruit! But the whole career of the Ascot Vale lad as a soldier appears to have been equally creditable. His comrades have been unsparing in their eulogism. "Harold Barker bound up our wounds amid showers of shrapnel, and earned the name of the 'Little Hero,' " says one of our boys in a letter to his parents at Moonee Ponds, and a wounded soldier who returned home recently adds: "I did not see Harold Barker at the front, but heard a lot about him while I was invalided in Egypt. He has proved himself a 'little brick,' has been made a lieutenant, and that no honour they can give him will be equal to what he deserves is the opinion of every man who has followed his doings in the firing line." Lieutenant Barker is the eldest of a family of ten, who, with their parents, are delighted at the distinction won by the young officer. "I am not a bit surprised at his display of nerve," says his mother; "he was never lacking in courage. Here is a letter we received front him this week." The letter modestly says: "I will be proud to receive the distinction, and I know you will be glad to know that I have done my best for my home and country." At date of writing, Lieutenant Barker was enjoying a well-earned rest in Heliopolis, but expected that he would be back in the ranks at an early date.


"THE LITTLE HERO". (1915, September 16). The Essendon Gazette and Keilor, Bulla and Broadmeadows Reporter (Moonee Ponds, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 5 Edition: Morning.. Retrieved January 15, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74590064


The following interesting letter, dated 8/9/15, has been received by Mr. A. Barker, of Waratah street, Ascot Vale from his brother:-


Your son, Lieut. Harold Barker, is at Zeitoun, near Cairo, having a good spell. He has worked, very hard and wanted a rest pretty badly (word has been received from the Defence Department that he returned to the front in September). I got a bit knocked about with hard work myself, but am pretty right now, although dog-weary of the continual day and night shell and rifle fire -little rest and less sleep. Have had two weeks in rest hospital and had to come back to the trenches on account of big offensive operations to be carried out by us, about a month ago. These are still progressing favourably. We have held the positions we have taken and have hung on like grim death in spite of repeated attack. I have seen the French, the French Colonials, the British Territorials and Kitchener's new army in action at various times, and am satisfied to be an Australian. This war is the very best thing that could have happened for us - it has shown that Australians are second to none as fighting men. Yesterday and to-day   the 6th Australian Brigade landed  here, so thank God we are now to be relieved. Our men have done wonders, but the remains of the lst and 2nd Brigade are clean done and want a spell. I cannot tell you what we felt like when we saw the fresh, intelligent Australian faces again after such a weary time hanging on by our eyelids. We go out this week to England or Egypt to re-organise. The new troops will not have such a tough time, as "Abdul" is pretty close to "down and out" at our end. Death has no terrors for us. I have seen death here   in so many shapes that we don't worry about it. It's a country worth dying for if we can keep Australia free and undefiled. No sacrifice would be too great. The gift of cigarettes, etc., from the V.R.C. reached the right men, and the kind thought was greatly appreciated.


OUR SOLDIERS. (1915, November 4). The Essendon Gazette and Keilor, Bulla and Broadmeadows Reporter (Moonee Ponds, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 5. Retrieved January 17, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74590716 


Mr. Arthur Barker has received a, cable from his son, Lieut. Harold Barker D.C.M., from the Eastern Field P.O., France, stating that all the local boys under his command are quite well, and asking that the parents of these boys be informed. As there are a number of Essendon and district boys in his machine gun corps, it is hoped this news will assure them that all was well up to the beginning of August. Lieut. Barker is now second in command of the 1st Division Machine Gun Corps, which is composed of the Machine Gun Sections of 7th Battalion and other sections of the 2nd Brigade.


WITH THE COLOURS. (1916, August 10). The Essendon Gazette and Keilor, Bulla and Broadmeadows Reporter (Moonee Ponds, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 5 Edition: Morning.. Retrieved February 4, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74593736



Mr. Arthur Barker, of Ascot Vale, has just received a cable message stating that his eldest son, Lieutenant Harold Barker, D.C.M.. has been appointed captain, and is now in command of the 1st Division Machine Gun Corps. Captain Barker has been granted a few days' furlough, and is now in London enjoying his first respite from active service. He enlisted the first week of the war, and left in the original 7th Battalion as a private, was promoted lance-corporal when in Egypt. On the memorable landing day he took command of his machine gun section, all his officers being wounded during the first hour. For conspicuous gallantry, ability and resource on these days (25th and 26th April) he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, was made sergeant by the C.O., and recommended for a commission. His appointment as second-lieutenant was gazetted in July, 1915. Since then he has been made a lieutenant, and has been acting as temporary captain and adjutant for some time. Captain Barker has gone through the whole campaign in Egypt, Gallipoli and France without injury. He was born in Bendigo, and is a nephew of Mr. Fred Barker and Mrs. A. L. Bolton, of this city.

PERSONAL. (1916, September 19). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918), p. 5. Retrieved June 9, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article90029088


Word has been received that Captain Harold Barker, D.C.M., is in the 3rd London Hospital. Wandsworth, England, suffering from wounds received in the recent Somme offensive, and is progressing favourably. He is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Barker, of Ascot Vale.


WITH THE COLOURS. (1916, November 23). The Essendon Gazette and Keilor, Bulla and Broadmeadows Reporter (Moonee Ponds, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 5 Edition: Morning.. Retrieved March 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74600869 


Mentioned in this correspondence:

Matthews J R Pte 50  published in The Herald 11 June 1915

Stelling-Gus-Letter-from-Cairo  Sep-Oct 1915

Letter from H L Fynmore published in Winner 8 Aug 1917.



Captain Barker DCM, demonstrates a machine specially adapted for

anti-aircraft defence, at the forward headquarters of the 25th Machine

Gun Company, Hamelet, France. 4 May 1918 http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/E04843


Mrs. Barker, Waratah street, Ascot Vale, has received a cable from her son, Captain Harold Barker, D.C.M. that he is returning on furlough with the Anzacs arriving some time in December. Captain Barker went into camp on 17th August, 1914, and has seen service in Egypt, Gallipoli and France. The cable further states that her other  son, Sapper Fred. Barker, is well.


THE FLYING CORPS. (1918, October 24). The Essendon Gazette and Keilor, Bulla and Broadmeadows Reporter (Moonee Ponds, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 2 Edition: Morning. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74607468


Captain Barker, taken 30 July 1918.  Australian War

Memorial Collection  http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/A05529


Recommended a fellow officer, Captain S S Berry, 25 MG Coy, for a Military Cross in 1918.



Objectionable Poet.



Melbourne, Thursday.

Detectives Jones and Madin, who have been investigating the tar and feathering of Mr. J. K. M'Dougall, of Ararat, on the 6th inst, to-night arrested five men on warrants issued by Mr. Notley Moore, P.M., to-day, on in formation of Mr. McDougall, charging them with inflicting grievous bodily harm. The accused are returned soldiers, and two, at least hold commissions, whilst one of them was the first to win the D.C.M. at Gallipoli. The names given at the City Watch-house were: Cyril Fred Joseph Eastgate, secretary Returned Soldiers' Association, Essendon. Richard E. Williams, aged 28, clerk attached to the Pensions Office. Harold Arthur Barker, motor proprietor, Moonee Ponds Charles Edward Young, woodworker, Field-street, Moonee Ponds. The accused emphatically deny that the incident had any political significance. They had read the poem and a section of the Essendon branch of the R.S.A. decided to take action against M'Dougall. The accused were all admitted to bail in £60, to appear at the City Court to-morrow. Mr. M'Dougall stated that he was not feathered, but a bag of kapok was drawn over him like a straight jacket.

Objectionable Poet. (1919, December 13). Camperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved June 9, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article25362085



Accused Remanded to Ararat.  


Harold A Barker, Richard E Williams Cyril F J Eastgate, Charles E Young, and  Richard Dennis, the returned soldiers who are charged with having, at Ararat, on December 6 unlawfully and maliciously inflicted grievous bodily harm upon John  Keith McDougall, were presented again at the City Court yesterday. Mr W T Snowden and Mr D S Abrahams appeared for the accused. Mr M Lazarus, for the prosecution, applied for a remand to Ararat on December 22.  The application was granted, and had allowed as before in one surety of £50 and a personal bond of a like amount for each accused.


ARARAT, Wednesday-At the Ararat Police Court this morning, Harold Williams and Wilson C Bissett both returned soldier were charged with having inflicted grievous bodily harm on Mr J K McDougall on December 5. They were remanded to appear at Ararat on December 22, bail being allowed as before.


ATTACK ON MR. McDOUGALL. (1919, December 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 7. Retrieved June 9, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4634829



Questions were asked in the Legislative Assembly by Mr. Hogan (Cau., Warrenheip), concerning an alleged utterance by the Rev. Henry Worrall in Wesley Church on December 7 in reference to the anti-militarist verses lately brought into prominence. Had the Premier's attention, he asked, been directed to an attack made on Mr. McDougall by Mr. Worrall, who was reported to have said: "God damn the man who wrote words like that," and then to have withdrawn that prayer, saying that it was unnecessary, as the writer of the verses was damned already? Was it intended to prosecute Mr. Worrall for blasphemy, and if not why not? Had any persons in Victoria yet been prosecuted for and convicted of blasphemy? he also inquired.


The Premier (Mr. Lawson) replied that the early records of the department did not enable him to say definitely that any person had been convicted of blasphemy. In answer to an interjection from the Caucus benches concerning the recent prosecution of Robert S. Ross in relation to a pamphlet entitled "Bolshevism has Broken Out in Heaven," Mr. Lawson said that Ross had been prosecuted under Federal law for a breach of the Post-office Act. The alleged utterance had been brought under his notice -by Mr. Hogan's question. (Laughter.)   He assured the House be had not seen the report before. A prosecution for blasphemy would not lie.


In connection with the recent tarring and feathering case near Ararat (V.), the following were presented at the Melbourne Court on December 12 on a charge of having, on December 6, unlawfully, and maliciously inflicted grievous bodily harm on John Keith McDougall (formerly a Labour member of the House of Representatives): -Cyril Frederick Joseph Eastgate, 24 years of age, described as the secretary of the Essendon sub-branch of the Returned Soldiers' Association; Richard Elton Williams, 28 years of age, a clerk; Harold Arthur Barker, 26 yeas of age, motor garage proprietor, Ascotvale; Charles Edward Young, 24 years of age, woodworker, Moonee   Ponds; and Richard Dennis, 43 years of age, painter and contractor, Moonee Ponds. All the men wore returned soldier badges. The police asked for a remand until December 17, pending a further application for remand to Ararat. The Bench acceded to this, and fixed bail in one surety

of £90. for each accused.





ARARAT, Tuesday. In the Police Court to-day, Mr. E. Harrison, P.M., continued the hearing of the case in which Harold Thompson Williams, aged 25 years, clerk, of  Ararat; William Charles  Bissett, aged 38, tailor, of Ararat; Cyril Frederick Joseph  Eastgate, aged 24, formerly of Ararat, and now secretary of the Essendon sub-branch  of the Returned Soldiers' Association;  Richard Elton Williams, aged 28, clerk, of the Commonwealth Pensions Office, Melbourne; Harold Arthur Barker, aged 26, motor proprietor, of 18 Waratah street, Ascotvale; Charles Edward Young, aged 21, wood worker, of 6 Field street, Moonee Ponds; and Richard Dennis, aged 43, painter and contractor, of 49 Vine street, Moonee Ponds, are all charged with having unlawfully assaulted and inflicted grievous bodily harm on John Keith McDougall at Ararat on December 6.


Mr. G. A. Maxwell (instructed by Mr. Webb, of Ararat) appeared for defendants Harold Williams and Bissett, and Mr. McArthur, K.C. and Mr. E. Reynolds (instructed by Mr.D. S. Abraham) for the other five accused. Mr. Lazarus (instructed by the Crown Law department) conducted the prosecution.


Detective Percival Jones deposed that he saw the accused Barker in Melbourne in company with Detective Madin, and said that he was making inquiries into the tarring and feathers incident at Ararat. Witness asked Barker if he was the person who drove a party from Melbourne to Ararat on Saturday, December 6. Barker said, "Yes, there's nothing to keep back. Everybody knew that we were going to do it."  Madin said. "Well, we want to take some particulars from you." Barker said; "What    are they going to do with us?" Madin replied, "We don't know yet what is going to be done to you." Barker said, "Remember, this was not done with the sanction of the Returned Soldiers' Association or the branch (meaning the Essendon branch). We just held an informal meeting, and it was decided we should go to Ararat and pick up some of the members there and go and tar and feather old McDougall." Witness said, "We will take a statement from you in writing." Barker then made a statement, which was reduced to writing, and signed in witness's presence. The statement was to the effect that he was engaged by a party of soldiers to go to Ararat and tar and feather "old McDougall," and that he and the accused R. E. Williams went to the house and saw McDougall and, on a whistle being given by Williams, the crowd mustered, took McDougall away in a car,  and tarred and feathered him. The statement further went on to say that Barker had supplied a report to "The Argus," which was correct. The statement, according to the witness, proceeded:-  


Detective Jones. - Who engaged you for this trip?  

Barker. I really cannot say who engaged me. Who are you looking to for payment?

I look to Mr. Eastgate, the secretary.  

What about the tar; where did you get it from? We did not take anything from here. I think the tar was got from the corporation yard up there.              

Witness added that Madin and he had interviewed Eastgate at his office at Moonee Ponds. Witness said: "We waited until nearly 10 o'clock last night, but none of you turned up as promised." Mr. Eastgate said: "I know. We got legal advice last night, and we are going to say nothing." Witness asked, "Were you in Ararat on the 6th with Barker and the others?" Eastgate replied, "Certainly. My father lives in Ararat. I had business up there." Madin said, "Well, I am going to read you Barker's statement. Are you the person referred to in that statement?" Eastgate said, "Yes." Witness asked, "ls it correct?" and East gate said "Every bit of it, but mind you I did not go out to McDougall's. I stayed in Ararat whilst the others went out. Did McDougall say I was out there? I wish he would. I could prove I was in Ararat." Madin and witness had next interviewed Richard Elton Williams. When spoken to Williams said, "I will refer you to my solicitor, Mr. Snowden." Witness said. "I came to see you, not your solicitor. Why refer to your solicitor before you know what I want? We are making inquiries into the tarring and feathering case at Ararat." Williams replied, "I don't know anything about it." Madin then read Barker's statement to Williams, and asked, "Are you the person referred to in that statement?'' Williams said, "I refuse to answer any questions." Eastgate and Williams were then driven to the detective office, and on the way Eastgate said to Williams, "lt is a pity we did not give this ----- more." At the detective office later Eastgate and Williams were paraded before McDougall, and Madin said to Williams, "Mr McDougall has identified you as one of the men who assaulted him." Williams said, "Very nice." Madin said, "You heard that statement of Barker's read to you to-day. What have you got to say to it?" Williams said; "It is true and correct in every detail, also 'The Argus' report." Witness and Madin then interviewed Young at Essendon. Madin said:  "Are you one of the party who went with the other boys on the 6th?" Young said:  "I refuse to answer any questions." Madin said: "I am going to read to you Barker's statement," which he did, and then asked:  "Are you the person Young referred to in it?" Young said: "I refuse to answer any  questions." Witness also interviewed Dennis. In reply to questions,Dennis said: "We have got legal advice, and I am going to say nothing." Madin asked: "Were you in Ararat on December 6th?" Dennis said: "I was." Witness then read Barker's statement to him, and he admitted being the person referred to. Madin asked: "What part did you take in the affair?" and Dennis said: "I am not going to say anything." They then took Dennis and Young to the detective office, where witness read to the five accused the information in the warrant. In reply to a question, each said that he was the person referred to. The whole five were then charged and locked up.


Detective Madin corroborated Detective Jones's evidence, and this closed the case for the prosecution.  


Mr. Maxwell contended that there was no case to go to a jury so far us his clients Bissett and H. T. Williams were concerned, and asked that they be acquitted. Mr. Arthur, K.C, said that there was nothing against the five he appeared for, along with Mr. Reynolds. It was preposterous to have brought such a charge. "The only evidence as to, having caused grievous bodily harm that had been submitted was after the tarring had been completed, and McDougall had been slapped over the face with the brush, and as a matter of fact there was no brush there. No jury in the world would commit the accused.  


Mr. Lazarus said that the whole charge of ill-treating was from the very commencement of the attack on McDougall at his house, and was not confined to the tarring. It was the duty of the court to commit the accused for trial. The magistrate was not sitting as a jury, and it was not expected of him to accept the opinions of others.


The magistrate said that he agreed with Mr. Lazarus, and that he must commit the accused.  


All were then committed to take their trial at the sittings of the Court of General Sessions to be held at Ararat on February 10, 1920. Each was admitted to bail in £50, and an approved surety of £50. The bail was at once forthcoming, and the men were released.   


ATTACK ON MR. McDOUGALL. (1919, December 24). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 7.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4631339




Accused Fined £5 Each.

ARARAT, Tuesday. — Judge Williams presided at the Court of General Sessions held to-day, when the Maroona tar and feathering case was dealt with. Harold Thompson Williams, Wilson C. Bissett, Cyril Frederick Eastgate, Richard Elton Williams, Harold Arthur Barker, and Richard Dennis surrendered to their bail on the charge that at Maroona on December 6, 1919, they did assault J. K. McDougall and cause him actual bodily harm.  There were 80 jurymen summoned, and 42 were called before a jury was empanelled, the foreman being Mr. William Ogilvie, agent, of Ararat.


Mr. Maxwell appeared for the six accused (instructed by Mr. D. Abrahams, of Melbourne), and Mr. S. Leon prosecuted on behalf of the Crown.


J. K. McDougall said that when he went out and assisted to push the accused's car some distance he noticed other cars. A whistle was given, and a number of men rushed out from the plantation, and, seizing him, threw him to the ground, lashed his legs together from the ankle to the knee, and threw him into the supposed damaged motor-car. Two men jumped into the back seat, and one he identified as R. E. Williams and the other as Bissett. He was taken to Ararat and on the road up was subjected to the most filthy abuse. Williams said:— "You have for the past five years done all in your power to prevent assistance being sent to the front. You have delivered speeches against conscription." Witness admitted having spoken against conscription, but denied that he had ever said one word against recruiting. Williams stood in the car, and, waving his hand, said:— "We will show what the Anzacs can do. We will tar and feather an ex-member of Parliament, and the news will ring to the ends of Australia to-morrow." Bissett said:— "McDougall, I am a solicitor. I know how far we can go in this matter. What we will do will not put us in danger. We would not hang for a skunk like you." He asked them to give him a chance to explain, but they said he deserved none. When the cars halted he was taken out, still bound, and placed in a sitting position in the road. They blind-folded him with a handkerchief, and taking off his coat, vest, shirt, and flannel, gave him a liberal coat of tar on the body, front, and back, and at the suggestion of  one of the men, his trousers were pulled down, and tar was placed on his legs, and also on his face, some going into his mouth and into one eye. He was struck with the wooden portion of the brush on the face. Kapok was put over him. His clothes were put on, and a bag with the bottom cut out was pulled over him. He was put back in the car and taken to near the Coronation Baths. He called out for help, when one of the men seized him by the throat and put his hand over his mouth. He was put out on the pavement, when he again called out lustily, and the cars drove off. When he got his hands free he released himself, and went to the Turf Hotel, where practically all the tar was got off with kerosene, and he communicated with the police.


Mr. Maxwell. — You knew very well what you were attacked for? It was on account of the verses you wrote.


Witness. — I suppose it was.


Then why did you not say that in the police court? — That was stated.


Mr. Maxwell. — I think I will put in the verses.  


Judge Williams. — Why? I do not think they have much to do with the case. I will have to read them if you put them in.


Mr. Maxwell. — I will save you the trouble. I will read them.


Judge Williams. — I do not want to rob you of any of your thunder.


Mr. Maxwell. — I do not think that that is a very nice remark for your Honour to make.


At this stage, Mr. Leon asked that the jury should retire, as he wanted to mention something to the Court. The jury having retired. Mr. Leon said that he felt from his Honour's attitude that probably it would be best to withdraw the charge, and then charge the accused with common assault. He had consulted Mr. Maxwell on the matter, and he concurred in what he imagined was his Honour's view, and thought this would be the best thing to do.


The jury was again brought in, and the Crown prosecutor said he would consent to the course suggested. It would be the best thing. The six men were then asked how they would plead to the charge of common assault, and each pleaded guilty.


Judge Williams said that he did not like to send to gaol young men who had done their bit for their country and the Empire.


Mr. Maxwell. — Perhaps you will release them on good behaviour.

Judge Williams. — I could not do that. I must impose a fine. I will fine each of the accused £5. Though no doubt they resented the verses which had been written, they must remember that it was not their duty to assault a man. They must not take the law into their own hands.


There was some little cheering when the fine was announced, and the accused were greeted with some enthusiasm as they left the court.


TAR AND FEATHERS CASE. (1920, February 11). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 11.  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1676901



Between the wars Barker joined the Reserves as an officer, and served again in WW2. He was a Major when he was demobilised in 1944.  He served in New Guinea:


'A Tale of Two Soldiers', by Alan Ralph Barker, in Queensland RSL News, Edition 05, 2018



War Service Commemorated

Essendon Town Hall A-F

Ascot Vale State School       

Ascot Vale State School "Noble Deeds"                                                                                             

St Thomas' Anglican Church                                           

Essendon Gazette Roll of Honour Wounded           

Patriotic Concert, Essendon Town Hall, 1914  

Regimental Register   

“Send off to the Essendon Boys”



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