Letters to the editor | July 19

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: The glow of sunrise during a rare fogless morning along the Yass River at Riverbank Park on Friday, July 14. Photo: Toby Vue

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: The glow of sunrise during a rare fogless morning along the Yass River at Riverbank Park on Friday, July 14. Photo: Toby Vue

1st NSW Mounted Rifles

I am researching the regimental history of the 1st NSW Mounted Rifles contingent that served in the Boer War 1899-1901. My work on Victorian contingents that served in the Boer War is well documented.

As part of the NSWMR history, I intend providing a small biography on every man who served in the five squadrons – all 666 of them – that constituted the 1st contingent. I will certainly need a great deal of help from descendants and local communities in that regard, and interested parties from associations such as history societies, family history groups or genealogical societies, who might be able to provide primary source material.

These were the men who sailed on the steamships Aberdeen and Southern Cross to the war in South Africa in 1899 and 1900; who fought at Klip Drift, Paardeberg, Driefontein, Poplar Grove, Abrahams Kraal and Osfontein; and later acted as the van of Lord Roberts’ Grand Army that marched from Bloemfontein to Pretoria from April to June 1900. They were to fight at Diamond Hill and chase the Boer General Christiaan De Wet, with epic engagements at Palmietfontein, Bothaville and Rensberg Drift, where they captured one of De Wet’s artillery pieces, which can be seen today in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Many chose to return to South Africa with successive contingents and certainly enhanced the reputation of Australian Mounted Infantrymen. Their history needs to be written, for there is much to be proud of. Even if there is no memorabilia of South African service, personal information on the lads will be as valuable if a comprehensive biography is to be provided.

In particular, I am seeking to write about these men from Yass: Charles Barber (B Sq); Jack Carter (B Sq); John Field (A Sq); Thomas Johnston (D Sq); Joseph McCabe (D Sq); Jack McJannett (D Sq); William Murphy (E Sq); Charles Tonkin (D Sq); Francis Tonkin (D Sq); George Wells (D Sq); James Young (D Sq).

Please email jerwfd@optusnet.com.au or write to PO Box 42, Bulleen VIC 3105. 

Robin Droogleever, Bulleen VIC

Cemeteries research

I am putting together books on both the Merrilla and Parkesbourne cemeteries.

I would like to hear from anyone with knowledge of the cemeteries; or have relatives in either cemetery.

I can be contacted at 18 Gahans Lane, Woonona, 2517 or email davidmr@bigpond.com 

David Ralph, Woonona

National Farm Safety Week

National Farm Safety Week (July 17-21) is a great opportunity for farmers and farm workers to think about how they can make their workplace safe so everyone gets home to their loved ones every day.

Tragically, 32 people have died this year in farm incidents according to analysis by the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety, with more than half of these deaths occurring in New South Wales.

That is 32 deaths too many, not to mention the many more that have been injured. It’s a sad fact that the agricultural industry accounts for one in five workplace deaths in Australia, despite it representing a much smaller fraction of the national workforce.

I grew up on a working farm and am very familiar with the tough conditions, dangerous tools and the pressure come harvest time. But even so, many agricultural work injuries and deaths are preventable with proper training and appropriate safety procedures.

For example, quad bike safety continues to be a big concern. But the simple act of wearing a helmet could very well mean the difference between life and death or life-changing injury.

The theme for Farm Safety Week 2017 is ‘Creating a resilient, safe and healthy ag community’, so let’s make farm safety a priority and reduce preventable work accidents across our region.

Danielle De Paoli SC, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers

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