Our Soldier Boys


‘Nothing is too good
for our Soldiers.’

I am writing with feelings of anger and sadness.

I was coming this morning [ Wednesday, 15 October 1919 ] from Rosemount Hospital in a tram, when turning a corner in the city, I saw stepping off the pavement a man in civilian clothes wearing a returned soldiers’ badge; he had one boot and sock off, was flourishing a spare pair of trousers in his hand, and was much the worse for liquor.

He did not see the tram coming and bumped into it; fortunately for him I caught him and whirled him away from danger.

A respectable man in front of me turned round to me and said, “The drink again.”

Now I don’t quite agree with that and I therefore replied, “You could stand plenty of liquor but that boy, after what he has been through, cannot stand half a glass.”

Later on I learnt that the boy was picked up by the police, incapable of taking care of himself.

A civilian, bearing a well-known name in Queensland, was with this boy and for his own purposes had encouraged him to drink, yet in such cases the blame is put upon the soldier, or upon militarism, when the blame lies elsewhere and probably with the civilian.

Such incidents as this, all too frequent, need our charitable judgement on the soldier and also demand reparation from us.

There ought not to be more than an occasional drunken soldier seen and there would not be if there were a wholesome public opinion.

Will people, instead of pointing at the returned soldier for drinking too much, create a wholesome public opinion against offering him liquor, remembering that, after the Hell he has been in, he is not able to stand liquor as those can who remained at home?

Some reparation can be made by offering such counter-attractions that the returned soldier will seek them instead of less desirable places.

Temperance speeches are not much use in this instance, but institutions such as ours and kindred institutions are the best way of dealing with the problem.

Let anyone who sees a returned soldier the worse for drink not reproach, but pity him, and send a donation to our funds as an acknowledgement of personal responsibility for his care.

The shell-shock soldier is often not responsible for his actions, those who give him drink make him worse.

All soldiers are not suffering from shell-shock, but all are suffering from their war experience and need to be helped upwards, not pushed down or out, or pointed to with a pharisaical superiority as worse than anyone else.

ARMISTICE DAY.– In Brisbane we are observing Armistice Day (11 November) by a celebration of the Holy Eucharist in the War Chapel at 10 a.m., when I look for a good attendance of members of the Society [ the Soldiers’ Church of England Help Society ] and also of soldiers and friends.

We ought at least to give thanks to God on that day, and remember those who made it possible for us to celebrate such an event.

It will be of interest to our friends to know that the Union Jack, which was used as the pall for Australians who died at the base camp in Egypt, is now the cover of the altar in the War Chapel.

In the evening we are having a social and dance in the Centennial Hall, which will be open to all returned soldiers.

I hope that in the country there will be some similar observance of Armistice Day, and if there has not been a formal welcome in any parish to the returned soldiers, this would make a good opportunity.

We have all sorts of clubs outside the Church welcoming the returned soldiers; the Church which gave the largest proportion of men from Australia ought not to be behind any organisation in the welcome home.


  • Anzac Club, Charlotte Street, Brisbane, opening 1915.
  • Anzac Club Home, Charlotte Street, Brisbane (board and Lodging), opened 1919.
  • Coolangatta Rest House, Tweed Heads (Board and Lodging), opened 1918.
  • Toowoomba Rest Rooms, opened 1915.

Donations may be earmarked for these institutions, or given to or General Society Funds. They can be addressed to me or the Treasurer, Box 47, GPO Brisbane.

David J. Garland

Brisbane, 15th Oct., 1919.

– from pages 229 and 231 of the 1 November 1919 issue of “The Church Chronicle” (Diocese of Brisbane)
For returned First AIF men such as London-born Saddler Sergeant Henry Alfred Testro (No. 3026, late of the 4th Section, 1st Divisional Ammunition Column and afterwards of 23 Malcolm Street, Hawthorne, in Brisbane), the Soldiers’ Church of England Help Society collected funds and provided places of refreshment, light and peace in the form of hostels, games rooms, reading and recreation spaces, as well as fellowship and support. This photo was published on page 25 of the 23 February 1918 edition of “The Queenslander” Pictorial Supplement, and depicts Sgt Testro with his wife, Florence Testro, and seven of their children. He died on 10 February 1959, at the age of 79.

Our Soldier Boys



‘Nothing is too good
for our Soldiers.’

THE taking of the Referendum has been the great event since I last wrote, and I cannot forbear one word on the result.

I feel disappointed and ashamed that as a people we failed to rise to the call for sacrifice as a whole people, and decided that we should still continue to accept individual sacrifice.

To me the whole position has been brought about by a selfish consideration of individual interests and personal feelings instead of the well-being of the Empire and the Nation.

Because I believe in God, and the righteousness of our cause, I am forced to believe that ultimately the British Empire must win, but we shall have to descend further into the valley of humiliation and suffer still more than ever, before that victory can be assured.

There must be an expansion of the spirit of sacrifice; it must go deeper and wider until it permeates Australia as a people.

The two lessons I think we most need to learn are unselfishness and self-denial.

Here our work for the soldiers comes in. Here our work for the patriotic funds and the tightening of money which will take place, will make it harder than ever, but that is just what will teach us unselfishness and sacrifice.

Besides now that we need voluntary recruits more than ever, we equally need to show them our deeper appreciation of their action is doing something to remover the disgrace of our vote on Referendum day.

Christmas time affords a suitable opportunity of giving for the benefit of our boys.

Surely there will be many who would like Christmas time to make an offering for the happiness of boys in camp and at the Front, to which latter the work of our society [ The Soldiers’ Church of England Help Society ] is extending, as well as for the care of Returned Soldiers.

When one is perhaps depressed by the present position, encouragement comes in our work.

A father wrote the other day, saying, “I was not a scoffer, but I did not go to Church much until I came to camp. If the services in parishes were like camp, they would be better attended; they are logical, direct and simple.”

This soldier came from a place where the Holy Eucharist was not made the chief service, and this is how he speaks of it and its effect on him.

He added that “Mattins and the rest of it, with Holy Communion tacked on, is not the thing to get people.”

Another soldier wrote to his people in the Far West, telling them “how surprised he was at the large number of men who received Holy Communion.”

Our chaplains’ work is not confined to the spiritual side only; there are multitudes of ways in which they help.

It is not an infrequent thing the making of a will for a soldier before he leaves for the Front; while my colleagues, as well as myself, have scores of telegrams and letters, as well as money, entrusted to us to remit to relatives just as boys are departing for the Front.

The Officer Commanding a troopship writes, in a letter which I received today: – “The piano placed on board has already proved of great assistance in giving pleasure to the troops,” and that he was requested at a concert, held the evening previous to his writing, to convey the grateful thanks of all ranks aboard for the kindly thought which prompted the useful gift, to which he adds his personal appreciation for the help thus given in entertaining the boys in khaki.

I may add that particular ship had made four outward voyages without any piano.

An encouraging commendation of our work was brought out, not by any action of ours. Someone in a locality where a local patriotic committee had voted part of their proceeds to our fund, applied to the Auditor-General for a ruling as to whether we were a sectarian or patriotic Society, to which the Auditor-General replied that our Society is officially considered “patriotic”.

We were not surprised at this ruling when we know our work on its social side is freely offered to and as freely accepted by soldiers of all denominations.

A word about our Central Committee in Brisbane, which I do not often mention. Here I get the help for all our social work which is so large a part of our work.

Never have I known the Central Committee to fail me in the many demands I make upon them.

Our Sunday Teas, catering for 100 country boys every Sunday; our Camp Concerts, often three and four a week; our Sewing Parties weekly in every camp; our visitors to the Military Hospitals; our monthly Confirmation Teas; our fortnightly Socials for Returned Soldiers; our visits to soldiers’ relatives; are some of the splendid work steadily maintained by our members in Brisbane, who meet me once a fortnight to ask “What can we do to help?” and when told, do it.

I am very hard-up for games, and our literature is almost exhausted. The supply we put on transports leaving proves a great strain, and it must be kept up.

I shall be glad to have parcels of literature or games addressed to me at St. Luke’s Church, Charlottte Street, Brisbane.

Letters and donations to Box 47, Brisbane.


David J. Garland, Resident Chaplain.
Director, Soldiers’ Church of England Help Society.

18 November, 1916.

– from page 235 of “The Church Chronicle” monthly journal (Church England, Diocese of Brisbane) of 1 December 1916. 

PICTURED ABOVE: The “Writing and Reading Room” inside The ANZAC Club, set up inside St Luke’s Church, Charlotte Street, in inner-city Brisbane by Canon Garland and the Soldiers’ Church of England Help Society in 1915. When the third annual general meeting of the Society was held in May 1918, this room was being looked after by Miss Ivy Pointon, the Society’s Literature and Office Secretary, and other volunteers. This photograph appeared on page 25 of “The Queenslander” newspaper of 1 September 1917.

Our Soldier Boys

Excerpt from "Focus", June-July 2012, pg5.

ABOVE: Canon Garland was instrumental in the formation of The Soldiers’ Church of England Help Society. This article appeared in the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane’s monthly newspaper, “Focus”, for June-July 2012 (page five).


‘Nothing is too good
for our Soldiers.’


This month we wish to tell the members of the society about the Seaside Home.

The country branches can help us a good deal in this direction by sending to this office the names and addresses of any returned soldiers for whom they can vouch as being of good character, and who they think would like to spend a holiday at the seaside.

The home will be definitely opened for men on the 1st of January, 1918, and the official opening will be held on some date yet to be definitely settled.

In connection with the official opening, it is expected that by an arrangement with the Railway Department, a special train or car for the day will be run from Brisbane to Tweed Heads, enabling those members of the society who are in Brisbane to be present.

Notification of this will be published in the papers, and we hope to have a good roll-up.

Perhaps some people may still be doubtful as the conditions on which we will accept returned soldiers as residents of this Home.

First, as regards the men, we expect each one to be of good character, that is, not likely to be drunken or disorderly.

Secondly, absolutely no charge is to be made for use of the home, furniture, cooking utensils, beds, etc., so that the only expense that a man will incur will be his railway fare to Coolangatta and the cost of his food.

A resident secretary has been appointed, a returned soldier, of course; his duty will be to take care of the home and its members.

The Rest Home is in need of a gramaphone [sic] and an accordeon [sic]; we shall be glad is someone would make this gift as a Christmas-box.

The work in camp continues as heretofore, the concert party still continuing its excellent efforts; Miss Morris presenting each Tuesday a really fine programme, which is thoroughly appreciated.

The Sunday teas continue to be as largely attended as in earlier days, augmented chiefly by returned soldiers, and to the teas’ success we are very much indebted to all the faithful workers providing tea and sing-song so regularly every Sunday.

The honorary secretary of the “Anzac Club daily teas” reports that the morning and afternoon teas have proved a great success, and many of the returned men have expressed their appreciation of the work being done.

Records for the month of November show us that 1,250 men have partaken of morning and afternoon tea, which is supplied without charge.

Thanks are due to a number of ladies who have supplied refreshments and given their services, and also to firms which have donated goods.

The Toowoomba Help Society reports that the ladies of the Help Society are giving to returned men a dinner on Christmas Eve, and on Christmas Day have invited all returned soldiers at Toowoomba who have no home, to come to the rooms and have their dinner there.

From twelve to twenty returned soldiers make use of these rooms on many days of the week.

We hope before these notes come before our members that we shall be in a happy state of knowing that our boys can be adequately reinforced.

Should this new change of affairs take place, our Society will need to be very much alive, and if the camps fill again, the work for caring for the men in camp and for returned soldiers will be greatly increased.

A cable from Canon Garland [ David John Garland ] announces his safe arrival in Cairo. We hope soon to hear of some of his work on the troopship and at the Front.

This month our picture shows a general view of the sitting room of the Anzac Club. It can be seen how comfortable and home-like it is.

The Society wishes all its members a Happy Holy Xmas; a most eventful Christmas in the history of the world, for it is the first Christmas which will be celebrated with Jerusalem in possession of Christians since the eighth century.

This month we present our regular Quarterly Statement, which shows a very creditable report.

The Seaside Home, costing so far £550, which in conjunction with the £150 spent on the Anzac Club, shows an expenditure of £770 on returned soldiers for this quarter.

Gifts of games and literature should be addressed to the Soldiers’ Church of England Help Society, Anzac Club, Charlotte Street, Brisbane; letters and donations to Box 47, Brisbane.

FROM 1st SEPTEMBER, 1917, TO 30th NOVEMBER, 1917.

1st September, 1917

Balance in London Bank account,
30th November 1917   ….        ….        …         ….        140      14          5
Donations to the Lavender Fund        ….        ….      196      18        4
Transfer from Lavender Fund for
Seaside Home Building          …         ….        ….        150      0          0
Transfer from Lavender Fund for
Purchase Land for      ….        …..         …..    …..       400      3          0
Donations        ….        ….        ….        ….        ….        506      8          9
Balance in Queensland Government
Savings Bank account ….        ….        ….                    260      4          2

     £1,656   5     8

Lavender Fund ….        ….        ….        ….       198      18        4
Seaside Home Building          ….        ….        150        0        0
Seaside Home Purchase Land            ….        400      0        0
Building and Tent Repairs      ….        ….        5          10        4
Carpentering, Equipment       ….        ….        11        19        3
Lighting           ….        ….        ….        ….           11        3          11
Transport        ….        ….        ….        ….           23        8         7
Prayer and Hymn Books          ….        ….        49        2         6
Salaries, Camp Secretaries    ….        ….          80        13       4
Grants, Chaplains at the Front           ….         10        18       10
Anzac Club      ….        ….        ….        ….          150      0          0
Office Expenses and Postages   ….      ….        43        0        11
Printing           ….        ….        ….        ….           13        15        6
Church Mission, Rent and Staff          ….        37        10       0
Altar Requisites          ….        ….        ….             3          11       11
Sunday Teas    ….        ….        ….        ….            8          1         8
Concert Expenses        ….        ….        ….           0          10       0
Sewing Party Expenses           ….        ….           0          2         1
Insurances       ….        ….        ….        ….            0          19       0
Bank Charges  …         ….        ….        ….            1          1          1
Advertising      ….        ….        ….        ….            1          0          5
Courier Christmas Box Fund   ….        ….        10        0          0
White Cross Literature        ….        ….        ….    5          18        5
                                                                                £1,219   6     2

Balance in the Banks –
London Bank Account, 30th November  ….        …    176      15        4
Queensland Government Savings Bank….        ….    260      4          2

       £436   19    6

Brisbane, 1st December, 1917.

(signed) H.F. Le Fanu [ Henry Frewen Le Fanu] and G.F. Weatherlake [ George Frederick Weatherlake ], Treasurers.

–  from pages 11 and 12 of “The Church Chronicle” (Church of England, Diocese of Brisbane, monthly journal) of 1 January 1918.



Our Soldier Boys

ABOVE: This was, for a great number of Queensland’s First AIF returned soldiers, the first time they could smile again after the ravages of trench life in the Great War. Managed by a returned soldier with the additional supervision of a former Army Nursing Service Matron, “The Rest House”, behind the sand dunes at Coolangatta’s Rainbow Bay, was a respite haven in the safe and caring hands of volunteers of the Garland-led The Soldiers’ Church of England Help Society. Over the 1919 Christmas holiday period, when this photograph taken for the 2 February 1920 issue of “The Church Chronicle”, “large parties of from Rosemount and Enoggera Military Hospitals” had been guests.



‘Nothing is too good
for our Soldiers.’


We had no Monthly Notes in January, but that did not mean our Society was idle; as a matter of fact we were doing a great deal at Christmas time.

ANZAC HOME.– All meals were provided free, and a sumptuous Christmas dinner, which included turkey and fowl, was given to one hundred guests.

There were other things we did for Christmas time: Motor drives for invalids who could not get away for more than a few hours from the hospital, and some families of sick soldiers still in hospital made happier by our gifts.


I am sorry to say that some of our branches and subscriptions are falling off because the war is over. I much regret this, although it is not quite unexpected as the same thing is generally happening with most patriotic societies; I am proud to say in our own case there seems to be less cessation of interest than has happened with other organisations.

I am not pressing for subscriptions at present, but there is much work to be done for returned soldiers, especially in the metropolis where they crowd (I wish they would get into the country; this crowding into the cities is one of the worst features of Australian life).

ANZAC HOME.– We are still turning boys away for want of room, and have been doing so almost nightly.

There has been a great improvement recently, and a better tone among the boarders. The Home is now settling down into a definite policy of having regular boarders – boys who are either getting instruction at the Technical College or elsewhere, or boys in temporary jobs who need a house; and it seems to me that this is now the most important part of our work.

We still provide for casuals who are passing through, but I object to the idea that a man because he is a returned soldier, can come and sponge on this Home without paying in order that he may save money for gambling and drinking.

The appointment of an Australian Army [ nursing ] Sister as Matron, has proved to be the right thing, and half the boys who come into the Home recognise her from having passed through her hands in hospital.

I know there has been a good deal of talk about the conduct of those staying at the Home; and I think it has not been altogether justified.

I spent New Year’s Eve at the Home, sleeping there expecting trouble that night. Certainly the boys were jolly, and were letting off crackers, but never interfered with passers-by or anyone else.

There was one drunk, who, somehow or other, had acquired a habit of coming in and out whenever he liked; but he comes no more.

The cost of bed and board is 3/- [three shillings, equivalent to 30 cents ] a day – with the meals supplied a man would not get the same thing elsewhere for 5/- [five shillings, equivalent to 50 cents ] a day; yet I am glad to report that last month shows a considerable decrease in our working expenses – greater economy and better management being responsible for this result.


The best New Year’s Gift we could have came to us in the shape of a break in the drought throughout most of the State. This ought to make an opening for those who really desire work.

Will employers in the country especially, let me know of any openings for station hands, farm labourers, and motor drivers? I am very desirous to get the boys out of the city into the country. Will employers kindly help me?

I will always tell them the truth about a boy, and will not try and push undesirables on them without their knowledge.

At Coolangatta we have bought a little more land running full length on one side of our present land; this I did to give more privacy to the house, which comes so close to the fence, that if we did not possess the adjacent piece of ground a house or houses could be bought closer to us that would be desirable.

I also bought two Huts used by the House Department, one of which will provide better kitchen accommodation, and the other will be used for a workshop by those boys who want to get their hands in at carpentry and such like jobs.

COOLANGATTA REST HOUSE.– The chief work was done here. We had a number of guests, including large parties from Rosemount and Enoggera Military Hospitals.

Our visitors spent from one to three weeks having a good time at the seaside.

One of them wrote on behalf of his comrades. In his letter he says: “After many weary months in hospital it was a delightful change to get away for a few weeks, but had not the hospitality of the Rest House been available there are so many of us who could not have taken advantage of Christmas leave, and a holiday by the sea would have been entirely out of our reach.”

Donations may be ear-marked for these institutions, or given to our General Society Funds. They can be addressed to me or the Treasurer, Box 47, G.P.O., Brisbane.

David J. Garland, Director.
Brisbane, 20th Jan., 1920.

Chaplain Lieutenant-Colonel Garland in 1915.


– from page 35 of “The Church Chronicle” journal
(Church of England, Diocese of Brisbane) of 2 February 1920.

Item from "The Courier-Mail" of 19 January 1943 (page 4).
ABOVE: The Coolangatta Soldiers’ Rest Home had a second influx of returned servicemen due to World War II. This item appeared in “The Courier-Mail” on 19 January 1943 (page 4).

Our Soldier Boys

ABOVE: The “Writing and Reading Room” inside The Anzac Club, set up inside St Luke’s Church, Charlotte Street, in inner-city Brisbane by Canon Garland and The Soldiers’ Church of England Help Society in 1915. When the third annual general meeting of the Society was held in May 1918, this room was being looked after by Miss Ivy Pointon, the Society’s Literature and Office Secretary, and other volunteers. This photograph appeared on page 25 of “The Queenslander” newspaper of 1 September-1917.



‘Nothing is too good
for our Soldiers.’


In presenting the Third Annual Report for circulation among its members in the various branches throughout Queensland, the Society records with thankfulness the development of its work and the continued support of Church people and the public generally throughout the State.

Founded originally to help the Chaplains in their work in the Camps, the Society has been able to adapt itself to the changing conditions as the war has continued.

The Camps have grown sadly smaller: the failure of the recruiting campaigns has made it less and less possible to have the required number of men in training, and naturally, as the war has gone on, the number of invalid and disabled soldiers returning continues to increase.

The Society carries on its work in the local Camps, helping the Chaplains, providing a Church of England hut; with concerts, Sunday teas and hospital visiting, and much appreciated sewing parties for the men in the camp.

By the energetic work of its members in Toowoomba, it has done excellent work in that town in the rest rooms established there for soldiers of all denominations.

The Anzac Club, as well as being the headquarters of the Society, and the place where the soldiers’ teas are held every Sunday, is being increasingly used by returned men.

For some time there were many men whose pensions were inadequate, and who found a ready welcome in the Club and ready help in many ways from the authorities there.

Now the Federal Government has made the pensions of incapacitated men adequate for their needs; but the Club is now more extensively used than ever, and provides a place of recreation, and a home for many in Brisbane who would otherwise have been uncared for or be tempted to undesirable places.

The thanks of the Society are gladly given to the ladies who have spent much time in arranging for daily teas both morning and afternoon, which are supplied free of charge.

The work of the Club is the more urgently needed here because Queensland, of all the States in Australia, is the only one which has definitely declined to take any special measures to curtail the facilities for the sale of liquor.

It is no slur upon our soldiers to say that men who are unable to work for one reason or another, are naturally liable to temptations from their fellows, from which they would be free in normal times.

The Society enters its protest against this cynical attitude on the part of the community which gives to one particular trade a quite justified licence in the matter of long hours as well as in the lax administration of the existing law.

The main local development of the Society’s work has been the erection and conduct of the Rest House at Coolangatta.

The Home was opened to give an inexpensive holiday to returned soldiers of any denomination at the seaside.

An excellent local committee has taken much pains to see that the house is well looked after, and we have been fortunate in our selection of Manager and Resident Secretary.

The house has been extensively and continuously used, and has been an unqualified success, of which the Society has every reason to be proud.

The generous support of the public on Lavender Day last year brought to the Society a sum of £7,000, and enabled it to develop its work at the Fronts.

The Society has already sent money to Chaplain Wray for huts in France.

It was enabled to offer its help to the Defence Department for social and religious work in Egypt.

The Church Army had already been at work there; but there had been no work done by the Church of England for the Australians.

After some negotiation, and on the assurance that the help was needed and would not in any way interfere with, or overlap the excellent work of other organisations, the Society allocated a sum of £4,000 to a newly-formed Church of England Australian Fund for soldiers overseas.

This fund is supported by all members of the Church of England in all parts of Australia, with Canon Jose, of Adelaide, as its Honorary Organising Secretary, and Bishop Le Fanu and Mr G. F. Weatherlake as its Honorary Treasurers.

The funds are expended with the consent of the Archbishops of Sydney and Perth.

After this movement had been successfully launched, Canon Garland went with the cordial approval of the Primate to Egypt and Palestine, and has been able to supply marquees and huts in Palestine, and to run a much-needed club for soldiers with residential accommodation in Cairo.

Canon Garland is about to inaugurate a similar club in Jerusalem.

Further help will be sent there and also to France, where in the recent German offensive the Church Army has already lost some 60 huts.

The ordinary funds of the Society need to be kept up to the full for these purposes, and every effort is to be made to make the Lavender Day of this year financially as successful as the last.
The benefits offered by the Society are open without restriction to all soldiers irrespective of creed, and are as gladly availed of by them.

Membership of the Society is open to any women members of the Church of England on payment of 1/- [ a shilling, equivalent to 10 cents ] monthly.

At the annual meeting of last year 65 branches were reported as being then in existence; this year the number has increased to 74, which in itself shows the support being given by members of the Church, and is an indication of how the policy of the Society has recommended itself generally.

A fortnightly meeting of the General Committee is held and is open to all members of the Society, and is attended regularly by representatives of all the Metropolitan branches.

The Executive consist of: –

The Society is assisted by an Advisory Committee, consisting of the following: –

During Canon Garland’s absence, Bishop Le Fanu is Acting Director of the Society; the Honorary Treasurers are Bishop Le Fanu and Mr. G.F. Weatherlake.

Resolution passed at the Third Annual Meeting, held 18th June 1918: –

“The members and friends of The Soldiers’ Church of England Help Society assembled in its Third Annual Meeting, desire to thank God for the continued blessings vouchsafed upon the work of the Society. While recording with regret the inadequacy of the present response to the need of reinforcements and the refusal of the Government to allow the people of Queensland to curtail for the benefit of the soldiers, the facilities for the sale of intoxicating liquor, they desire to place on record their deep admiration of the men who have willingly offered themselves in the defence of their fellowman, and of their country, and pledge themselves to support to the utmost of their power all that is done by the Church of England for the spiritual welfare of her own sons, and for the social benefit of men of all denominations, who by their sacrifice have earned lasting gratitude of all right thinking citizens.”

– from pages 136 and 137 of “The Church Chronicle” (Church England, Diocese of Brisbane) of 1 July 1918. 

Our Soldier Boys

ABOVE: This photo illustrated the column penned by Canon Garland (transcribed below) which appeared in the 1 March 1916 issue of the Church of England (Anglican) monthly newspaper, “The Church Chronicle” (page 51). The caption read: “Soldiers, leaving for the Front, saying good-bye to the Resident Chaplain”. Chaplain Lieutenant Colonel Garland is depicted in this poignant moment – probably taken in early February 1916 at the newly-built Railway Camp Station (today’s Gaythorne) – waving off a trainload of First AIF troops bound for Pinkenba and an awaiting troopship.


‘Nothing is too good
for our Soldiers.’

The great event of the last month was the damage caused by the storms, a full account of which has appeared in the daily papers.

It, however, was serious for our work, living as we do from hand to mouth.

The Military Authorities suffered as we did – all their large tents were blown, but they have resources not at our command.

Other Organisations providing for the welfare of the soldiers likewise suffered, and at least one of them seems to have resources which should put to shame the members of the Church of England.

Of our six tents, one was damaged beyond repair, the others suffered more or less. A good deal of property was damaged, but, fortunately, the pianos escaped owing to their being well protected with American cloth covers [ tarpaulins ].

Such things as our bagatelle boards were seriously damaged, while games likes draughts were simply swept away. Stationery was damaged, but, owing to our method of distribution, the loss was not serious. Books and magazines suffered a good deal.

Will our friends at once replace these things for us – particularly by sending me sets of draughts and draught boards? Surely someone has a bagatelle board to give the soldiers.

The damage to the tents has meant a heavy expense, which has run us into nearly £300.

At Rifle Range, we are now replacing the tent with a wood and iron structure, which will prove more permanent.

The question has been asked me, why we did not begin with these structures, to which the answers are many and convincing.

The Military Authorities themselves were not quite sure of the permanency of any site for a Camp. Our largest tent has been moved four times, if it had been originally of wood, to-day it would not be of much service; but it is now almost as good as new, after allowing for reasonable wear and tear.

Then I was not sure how much money would be forthcoming. Now I am making a still bolder venture in putting up one wooden structure, and I hope I shall receive the necessary financial support.

The financial strain caused by all this is naturally an anxiety, but the real drawback was the loss of a “Home” for the boys in camp, and the stoppage of our work amongst individuals. Indeed the storms have done one good thing – they have proved the wisdom of our policy, because while our “Homes” were wrecked, the difficulties of getting in touch with the boys became insuperable.

One boy said to me to-day, as I was inspecting the newly-restored tent: “This is homely again – we were miserable without this tent.”

That was a Camp in which the Church of England is the only body making provision for the soldiers’ recreation.

The storms wrought us damage, but that is a small price to pay for the good they have brought the country, which to-day is smiling with verdure, the grass seeming to grow visibly, the cattle seeming to be happier, while the trees are adding fresh beauty day after day.

Thank-offerings for the rain devoted to the soldiers who are offering themselves and their lives to preserve our country are but a small price to pay for the break-up of the drought.

At one Camp, the day our tent was restored, 1,600 letters were written in it.

Great care was taken by one of our staff in charge of the tent to see that there was no waste, but the fact that 1,600 letters were written shows how much these recreation tents do. Think of the joy given to the parents and wives and sweethearts, and sometimes children, by such letters!

How they will be read, and in days to come, treasured – especially if the writer falls on the field of honour!

Many of us know how difficult it is to sit down and write letters, and it must be much more so with boys in camp. There are no facilities for the purpose except these tents provided by the Church and other organisations.

The disposition to write letters is one which is to be encouraged, to me the writing of letters to relatives by the boys in camp is sacramental; because I hold firmly that a boy will not go very far wrong who writes a weekly letter home.

An interesting incident occurred this week as a result of my desire for economy: I had stopped printing our envelopes with the King’s picture and the name “Church of England Chaplain’s Department”, and supplied only plain, un-printed envelopes – thus saving the cost of printing.

The boys in one tent used up the old printed envelopes first, pushing the un-printed envelopes on one side, and afterwards asked for printed envelopes – saying they preferred them.

I wonder is it pride in their Church, or what is the reason? At any rate it does show that the boys are glad their Church cares for them. My attempt at economy failed, and our friends will have to pay for it.

I am most grateful for the response to our appeal for the formation of Branches.

The newly-formed Cathedral Branch began its existence by guaranteeing £50 to ensure the engagement of a secretary for our tent at the Exhibition, and followed that up by paying in almost the whole amount within a week.

Springsure is the first country parish to respond to the request for the formation of a Branch of the Society. Ithaca – which has already done so much for the soldiers in Camp – is the first metropolitan parish to form a new branch.

A word is due to the Parish of Holy Trinity, South Brisbane, where the Rev. F. Quirk, without waiting for any request, appealed to his congregation the day after the second storm, with the result that in a few days he sent a cheque for £20 towards the Restoration Fund. Holy Trinity, South Brisbane, has not the advantages that some other parishes have, but it is not the first time, or the first way, in which it has lead the Diocese.

There is no doubt if an effort is really to be made to form a Branch, there is no parish in which there will not be a response, and the parish will be the richer and not the poorer for its linking up with the greatest opportunity the Church ever had of reaching her sons when they are responding to religion as they have never done before, and calling for the Sacraments which have been too often passed by under other circumstances.

Our social work is freely at the disposal of every soldier, no matter what his denomination may be, and would be worth all it has cost if only for the comfort and happiness is gives the soldiers.

The spiritual side – of which I have said nothing this month – should appeal still more strongly to all earnest Church people. We try to look after our own sons from that point of view as far as possible, respecting scrupulously at the same time the convictions of those who do not accept the Church’s teaching.

There are therefore two sides, one of which should draw sympathy and financial support from everyone. Give to either our social work or our spiritual work, and thus help the soldiers.

Subscriptions, which I hope will come in freely during the month of March, to prevent us going into debt for our storm expenses, should be addressed to me, not to Camp, but to Box 47, G.P.O., Brisbane. All parcels should be addressed to me to St. Luke’s Church, Charlotte Street, Brisbane.

The Editor has warned me that I must be brief this month and he has been so generous towards our Society that I must not trespass upon him, but I hope to expand these notes in a Monthly Leaflet, which we will gladly send to anyone interested.

David J. Garland
Resident chaplain.
19 February 1916.