The 1914-18 World War 1 conflict greatly impacted Australian life and the Penrith community was no exception.
The Penrith district, encompassing the suburbs and towns in the current local government area, felt the impact of war as casualty figures mounted. Alfred Colless, editor of the Nepean Times, published letters from soldiers and nurses serving overseas and obituaries for
many of the soldiers. In the early years of the war, the Nepean Times regularly included lists of local boys who had enlisted, the wounded and the dead. By July 1917, when the casualties were mounting at an increasing rate, the lists disappeared. Over 115 men born or resident in the Penrith District at
the time of enlistment, were killed during World War 1.
During World War 1, 16 nurses from the Penrith District served overseas with the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force in Rabaul, on hospital ships and with the Australian Imperial Force in Egypt, England, the Western Front and Salonika (Greece). The nurses
enlisted under terms which offered free return passage by 2nd class steamer or military transport, free uniform and allowance for upkeep, pay rates of 100 pounds per year for Matron while a staff nurse received 340 pounds per year (the same rate as a private soldier). It was not until late 1916
that nurses received officer status. Working conditions were less than ideal. Many Australian nurses served in British hospitals under British staff and felt aggrieved as they had enlisted to nurse Australian soldiers.
Overall, 2139 Australian nurses served overseas while 423 remained on home service. 21 Australian nurses died on overseas service and 235 were decorated.
This page commemorates the work undertaken by the 16 Penrith district nurses, including their service on the hospital ship Grantala. If you would like to submit additional details for any of these nurses, please email:
During World War 1, guns captured from the enemy were labelled with details of the name of the unit which had captured the piece, and the date and place of capture. Trophies were then sent to England for storage before being sent home to Australia. It was determined that
the new National War Museum would only retain a portion of the trophies for display. A War Trophy Committee, set up to organise the allotment of the trophies, was inundated by requests for guns. It was necessary to draw up guidelines for disbursement which took into
consideration the claims from soldiers who had captured the guns, and which recognised the towns from which the soldiers had volunteered. Distribution of the guns was based on a number of factors:
The claims of the AIF unit responsible for the gun's capture. The restructure of the army after the war saw many of these guns allotted to Commonwealth Military Forces (CMF) units. Many units either handed control of the guns over to the council, or requested that
they be distributed to other towns
Pool A Guns. The remaining guns were allotted to towns all over Australia. Towns applying for guns had to comply with a series of conditions which included the appointment of three trustees. One of the trustees was required to have served in the Australian Imperial Forces.
The trustees were responsible for:
The following locations within the Penrith Local Government Area were issued with war trophies. Additional information will be added to the website over the next few months.
The catalyst to provide honor rolls which listed local residents who had volunteered to serve overseas began early in the war. Faced with the appalling loss of life at Gallipoli and on the Western Front, many believed that formal recognition was necessary.
Soldiers were to given public honour as fellow citizens as employees, worshippers and members of community organisations. Government departments and private companies, churches and schools, lodges and sporting clubs everywhere installed honour boards and in many
places, put up more substantial monuments. Most committees raised money for the memorials as they had done for wartime funds, by appeals in the press, door-to-door canvassing, fetes and dances and any other device they could think of. Penrith, like many towns, faced a number of hurdles when erecting its
public monument. There was disagreement among the community about the form of monument. Many returned soldiers were interested in the erection of a club house or hall for their use. Others wanted a monument that would publicly acknowledge the service of a large number of men from the Penrith
The number of Honor Rolls in the Penrith district reflected this desire to honour the dead and to commemorate those fortunate enough to survive the war. Many Honor Rolls were unveiled including: St Stephen's Church, Penrith Methodist Church, St Nicholas of Myra
Church , the Penrith Presbyterian Church, Jamisontown United Church and Lodge Nepean.
To assist researchers, the full name has been listed if known.
The Penrith District Roll of Honor 1914-1919 commemorates our fallen World War 1 soldiers who lived in Penrith, enlisted in Penrith or are listed on the Rolls of Honor in the Penrith Local Government area. Details on the Roll of Honor have been obtained
from the Australian War Memorial, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, War Memorials in the Penrith area and Local Sources such as newspapers and church records.
Biographies for these soldiers are gradually being added to the website. This information is compiled from the above sources as well as family members. If you would like to submit details for any of these service personnel, please email
Additional information can be accessed by contacting Penrith Library's Research Room on (02) 4732 7899, or Information Librarian Lorraine Stacker on (02) 4732 7886 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also go to the
Penrith City Local History website.
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