Augustus DAVIES #3282
By Marg Powel & Des Crump | 26 March 2018
Indigenous Australian, Augustus Davies, 41st Infantry Battalion
Gus (Augustus Hodgkinson) Davies was born in Port Douglas approx. 1880. After his mother died when he was just 3 weeks old, he was adopted by her employers Thomas Clinton and Mary Jane Davies. He volunteered to serve with the first AIF in May 1917, shortly after restrictions had been eased for Indigenous enlistment. Davies left behind his wife Esther and two sons Augustus and Henry, as he embarked from Sydney on board the troopship Horarata in June, bound for England with the 8th Reinforcements for the 41st Infantry Battalion. During the voyage he was isolated in the ships' hospital suffering from mumps.
When he arrived in England he joined the troops at the 11th Australian Training Battalion at Larkhill Camp, later moving to No. 13 Camp Fovant, then on to No.2 Camp Depot, Weymouth.
Davies experience in the winter of 1917 determined his military fate. The medical authorities decided that as he was suffering from chronic rheumatism and had flat feet he would not be fit to serve in the front lines in France and Belgium.
Davies was returned home to his family on the Balmoral Castle in February 1918 and was one of the few Indigenous servicemen to be granted a soldier settlement allotment at Wyampa in Bald Hills. As was often the case this ‘grant’ of land, was not all it was made out to be. The area was tidal marshland, almost unapproachable by road, not suitable for farming and barely suitable for a residence.
Families were asked to pay rent per acre regardless whether the land was usable or not, some walked away. Gus Davies and his family toughed it out, making a living on the nearby Pine River with a hire-boat business, family members still live there today. You will find the ‘Gus Davies Park’ at Charlock Road, Bald Hills.
Gus Davies was a very proud Australian, he also volunteered his services during the Second World War with the Garrison Battalion; he marched in almost every Anzac Day parade; and was a regular at the RNA Showgrounds, featuring in several newspaper articles in his day.
Gus Davies died in 1955 age 72; he suffered a heart attack while walking along the banks of the Pine River, and drowned.
Read more ...
- SERVICE RECORD: Davies Augustus Hodgkinson
- EMBARKATION ROLL: 8th Reinf. 41st Infantry Battalion
- Private Augustus Davies honoured
- Soldier Settlement at Bald Hills
- 'Old Digger Doing His Bit Again'. The Courier-Mail, 2 October 1940 p.4
- 'Tremendous effort at Bowen Park'. Brisbane Telegraph, 4 August 1949 p.12
- One of the soldiers featured in SLQ’s HistoryPin Collection
- Queensland’s Indigenous Servicemen Digital Story and Oral History
The information in this blog post has been researched by State Library staff and volunteers, it is based on available information at this time. If you have more information that you would like to share or further research uncovers new findings, this post will be updated.
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