Thursday, 8 August 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday – Postcard from WWI

I thought it an appropriate blogging prompt for this week as my parents are visiting with a huge pile (crate) of family memorabilia.
Mum brought out this postcard saying, “you probably won’t want this, it’s to my grandmother but I don’t know who it’s from”.

Noticing the date and being in the midst of WWI research for my local historical society’s giant project, I thought I’d look up the record of the man, F W Rolland, who wrote the card to my great grandmother, Mrs Ted Long – Sarah LONG nee Stonehouse of Terang.

I certainly didn’t expect to find what I did:
F W Rolland was Sir Francis William (Frank) Rolland (1878-1965).
He was the Presbyterian minister at Noorat in Victoria from 1908 to his enlistment in 1915, except for a year’s secondment to Broome in 1911.

Mrs E Long presided at the organ
This was a church where my great grandmother played the organ (including at her brother-in-law's wedding in 1914).

He served throughout the war as a chaplain-captain, rising through the ranks and ministering to soldiers across many battalions above and beyond the call of duty, and receiving a mention in dispatches, a Commander in Chief’s congratulatory card, and a Military Cross.

In another connection to our family, he had met his (future) wife in Noorat but then married her in London.

On his return, FW Rolland became principal of Geelong College, a school where the son and grandson of Sarah attended, although not during his time.

FW Rolland went on to receive many more honours and saw many more changes in the fields of education and religion – see his ADB entry.

So this little postcard is a treasure indeed!

Here are some Trove clippings related to his time in Noorat and a little extra linking him to the area I live in: Ku-ring-gai, and because I was too busy scanning all Mum's treasures to post a Trove Tuesday this week.

10 July 1915
15 July 1915

19 September 1954 in Ku-ring-gai


  1. I think there should be a dictatorship-type law - banning people from throwing out any memorabilia :) What a little treasure and well done you for doing the research.

  2. You didn't tell me about the Ku-ring-gai Knox connection when you showed me this treasure. It's worth a mention on the Ku-ring-gai Historical Society blog.

  3. Thank you for this bit of your family history, FWR was my great uncle and I recently visited Noorat in my family history research.

    1. My mum is taking the postcard to donate to Terang Historical Society so you will be able to visit them and see it soon.