Publications - Large Books

Rallying The Troops

Rallying The Troops is Ku-ring-gai Historical Society’s celebrated four-volume series, commemorating the almost 1800 men and women associated with Ku-ring-gai who served in The Great War.

They came from all walks of life, from labourers to university lecturers, and served in many postings: the artillery, infantry, Light Horse, Camel Corps and Flying Corps; in nursing, medical and dental units; in engineering and tunnelling companies; and as chaplains.

Some enlisted in the AIF from afar afield as Canada, the United States, Burma, India, Switzerland, Russia and New Zealand. Some travelled overseas to enlist in the British, Canadian, South African and French armies. Most had origins outside Ku-ring-gai, from other states and other countries, such as the many who were recent immigrants from the United Kingdom.

Of all in these volumes, one in six died, and one in ten was decorated.

Their achievements were many: over 340 were recommended for a decoration, with nearly 170 receiving awards. These ranged from a Mention in Despatches to the Victoria Cross, the highest honour of all, received by Major Blair Wark, VC DSO.

Their losses were great: 300 were killed or died of wounds or disease, and the health of many survivors was compromised. But what all did for their nation is monumental.

Rallying The Troops commemorates these brave souls who laid down their lives to defend our nation, with each chapter containing examples of their involvement.

Cover shots of our 4-volume Rallying The Troops series

The home effort supporting those on active service was substantial, and Ku-ring-gai residents were prominent in the organisations that provided comfort to the troops.

All four volumes in this incredible series have been painstakingly researched and written by members and associates of Ku-ring-gai Historical Society, and are dedicated to both those who deployed – many never to return – and those who shouldered some of their burdens back home.

Each volume contains appendices on Australian Military Structure in the AIF; an illustrated WWI glossary; lists of those who lost their lives, who were decorated, and where they are commemorated overseas; and of those who received honours and awards. Each volume is indexed, and photographs abound, many not previously published.

As reviewed by Russell Linwood ASM, Secretary Military History Society of Australia:

“…Each soldier’s story follows a concise pattern. Their military service and next of kin are followed by their life story, including location and date of death, and where each is commemorated. The labour of love by those who have painstakingly compiled these data is compellingly obvious, and the result is a record of a community’s contribution to war that is probably second to none, especially on this scale and at this level of detail. Where one exists, a photograph of the soldier is included…

“Footnotes for each section are perfectly placed to enable the searcher for deeper enquiry to pursue more information. On its own, Rallying The Troops is an incisive and deeply personable publication; most Australians even today can relate to the collective hurt and commitment by this community. Collectively, the full set provide a remarkable collection that deserves its place, not only on every household shelf in Ku-ring-gai, but in all repositories of first class works of literary art across the nation.”

Rallying The Troops vol. 1

Volume 1, with foreword by Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial, contains the stories of those with surnames A to F – approximately one quarter of all those who volunteered. It comprises five sections, with six support appendices and a comprehensive index.

It includes chapters on Ku-ring-gai as it was at the outbreak of war; on recruiting; enlistment; local rifle clubs; pre-war training; and the early battles in which our veterans were involved – about 20 took part in the seizure of German territory in Rabaul, New Guinea, in September 1914. Wahroonga doctor Brian Pockley was the first Australian officer killed in the war, and over 40 died in the Gallipoli campaign, 13 of these at Lone Pine. Many of those who survived went on to serve in the Middle East and the Western Front.

There is also information on our local memorials, and to the memorials and cemeteries overseas where our dead are commemorated.

Read the full review by Russell Linwood ASM, Secretary Military History Society of Australia, here (PDF – opens in new window)

Pub. 2014, 431 pages
Price: $40
P&P $20 per book within Australia

Rallying The Troops volume 1 book cover

Rallying The Troops vol. 2

Volume 2 contains a foreword by Major General Gordon Maitland AO, OBE RFD ED (Ret’d), a distinguished military historian and doyen of the veteran community.

This volume contains biographical entries for Ku-ring-gai veterans with surnames G to K. Other chapters include the extensive training undergone both in Australia and overseas; the Middle East campaign involving the Light Horse and Camel Corps units; the Engineer Officers Training School at Roseville that attracted students from all over Australia; and our veterans’ participation in the major campaigns and battles in the Middle East, and on the Western Front at Fromelles, Pozières, Mouquet Farm and Bullecourt; as well as those fought by the mounted troops in the Middle East at Romani, Beersheba and Megiddo.

“You may and can well be proud of the Aussie infantry. There is none to beat them in the whole world.”
 – Bombardier Geoffrey Johnson, MM, of Warrawee, to his father, William Morley Johnson, October 1918.

Pub. 2015, 414 pages
Price: $35
P&P $20 per book within Australia

Rallying The Troops volume 2 book cover

Rallying The Troops vol. 3

Volume 3 has a foreword by Major General The Honourable Justice Paul Brereton AM RFD, Justice of the Supreme Court of NSW and distinguished Army Reservist.

In addition to the biographies of those with surnames L to R, Volume 3 includes chapters on the 1917 battles of Messines and Third Ypres (which includes Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde and the disastrous Passchendale) and on Edgeworth David and the tunnellers.

Supportive chapters include casualty clearance from the battlefield; medical issues, care and support; doctors and nurses; chaplains; the Red Cross and other volunteer organisations, both overseas and in Australia.

Pub. 2016, 654 pages
Price: $50
P&P $20 per book within Australia

Rallying The Troops volume 3 book cover

Rallying The Troops vol. 4

Volume 4 has a foreword by His Excellency, the Governor of NSW, General The Honourable David Hurley AC, DSC (ret’d), and tells the war stories of over 430 veterans with surnames S to Z, including Ku-ring-gai’s only recipient of the Victoria Cross, Major Blair Wark VC DSO.

There are chapters on the main battles of 1918; the German spring offensive; and the Allies’ counter offensive that ultimately led to victory – including the battles of Villers-Bretonneux, Le Hamel, Amiens, Mont St Quentin-Péronne, the Hindenburg Line, St Quentin Canal and Montbrehain.

Other chapters outline the Diggers’ lives away from the front and how, on the home front, Ku-ring-gai residents were prominent in organisations supporting the war effort.

But at home there was also disquiet, with distrust of Germans resident in the area (even though many were naturalised Australians) to the extent that the press referred to Turramurra as ‘Hunamurra’.

Post war, chapters tell of support for the returned men and women with re-education; medical and financial assistance through schemes such as soldier settlement and war service homes; and the ongoing concern by Legacy for the welfare of veterans and their families.

Pub. 2018, 680 pages
Price: $35
P&P $20 per book within Australia

Rallying The Troops volume 4 book cover

Other Large Books

Almost Like Home – Living in Bradfield Park by Michael Hogan is the story of Bradfield Park, now part of West Lindfield, but once the site of a scout jamboree; housing settlement; post-war refugee hostel; migrant hostel; and then the CSIRO.

This book is about the once-planned garden suburb between Fiddens Wharf Road and Lady Game Drive. The period 1938 to 1973 saw many uses:

1938 Australasian Scout Jamboree
1940-46 RAAF Station Bradfield Park
1947-64 Housing Settlement
1949-51 Refugee Hostel
1951-71 Migrant Hostel
1973 CSIRO

This is the story of the many thousands of men, women and children who lived in an ex-RAAF camp at Bradfield Park in post-war Sydney.

In 1947 the Housing Commission of NSW leased part of the camp for emergency housing. From 1949, part of the site also housed European refugees, and later British migrants. Families shared the sub-divided fibro Air Force huts – freezing in winter, stifling in summer, a paradise for the children, and a time of trial for the adults.

After the Housing Commission settlement closed in 1964, and the migrant hostel in 1971, even the name was all but lost. Now Michael Hogan tells the story of this chapter of Sydney’s history, with the narratives and photos of those who lived there.

Pub. 2012, 187 pages
Price: $40
P&P $15 per book within Australia

Cover shot of Almost Like Home - Living in Bradfield Park

Ku-ring-gai Historical Society: The First 50 Years: 1963-2013

Ku-ring-gai Historical Society: The First 50 Years: 1963-2013, by Helen Whitsed Davies, is a comprehensive review of the Society’s first fifty years, its achievements, challenges and people. Well-written, well-presented and interesting.

Pub. 2013, 90 pages, professionally bound
Price: $20 (+ P&P $15 per book within Australia)

Note: all new members are welcomed with a complimentary copy of this book – so if you’re not yet a member, why not Join Today from just $35 and receive this informative book for free!

Cover shot of Ku-ring-gai Historical Society - the First 50 Years

Focus on Ku-ring-gai – the Story of Ku-ring-gai’s Growth and Development is a book of interest to the serious historian, as well as those Ku-ring-gai residents of all ages who would like to know a little more about their district.

Pub. 1996, 128 pages
Price: $24
P&P $15 per book within Australia

Cover shot of Focus on Ku-ring-gai

Women of Ku-ring-gai – a Tribute tells the story of many women of achievement in this area, redressing the balance of recorded history being largely written by and about men.

Pub. 1999, 232 pages
Price: $24
P&P $15 per book within Australia


To order any of these books:

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  • BSB: 032083
  • Account no: 248971
  • Account name: Ku-ring-gai Historical Society
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Alternatively please post a cheque, payable to Ku-ring-gai Historical Society Inc, to:
The Treasurer,
Ku-ring-gai Historical Society,
PO Box 109

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