Enlistment recorded in Charters Towers

Guest Blogger: Charters Towers Archives

Towards the end of 1914 an enlistment centre was established at the town hall, Charters Towers. A bound foolscap book titled “The Official Record of Charters Towers Men Who Volunteered for Service in the European War 1914-1917 " documented the names of all the men and women who were examined and sworn in at Charters Towers or enlisted somewhere else.

Page of the Official record, Charters Towers, 1914

Mayor Fred Johnson was the district's first enlistment officer. The first person he swore in was Charles Edward Rowe. This took place at the town hall in Gill Street on 25 October 1914.

Group photo of all who enlisted on June 26, 1916

In this image above, the men who numbered 17 and mainly from Pentland were E. E. Cole, Frederick Peagham, Jack Towler, Alfred Janes, George Reid, F. S. Wharton, Richard Close, Francis Maloney, Tommy Ah Foo, Frederick J. Anderson, James Marytr, L. J. Brooks, Charles George, Frank Webb, Henry Harold Wilson, Rupert Ernest Wincen from Cloncurry and Felix Joseph Hamilton.

By the middle of 1917 over 1600 had either passed through the town hall or were noted in the book as being from Charters Towers. Some pride was experienced when the volunteers were gifted one of the city’s silk handkerchiefs.

However, many who enlisted were rejected. Some were described as 'unefficient' while others could not obtain their parent's consent. Yet many would present themselves elsewhere, pass and serve overseas.

Notwithstanding an inability to go to war, at war’s end the Rejected Volunteers Association took part in Anzac Day proceedings in Charters Towers for a number of years.

The bound book was stored in a basement for many decades until it was rescued by the Charters Towers Archives in 2012.

Front Cover of the Official record of Volunteers, 1914

It was in good condition but needed to be preserved and the information drawn out for public use. Today, visitors can view the Official Record at the Archives upon request and search names via a database. For more information contact the Archives.

Michael Brumby
Charters Towers Archives


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