Canon Marcus Blake Brownrigg

1994_P_1020Canon Marcus Blake Brownrigg married Emily and James Robinson at St Johns Church 5/2/1881 about two weeks after his annual visit to the Islands of Bass Strait. I was talking with Dad about this last week as it explains the affinity his parents had with St Johns – he also wrote the book ‘Cruise of the Freak’, Dad said he had read the book in the library, a photocopy.  A quick look to see if it was possible to buy an original, found one on Ebay for a cool $600+ with a 35% discount, ouch! Then I realised its value.

A further search found this link to a digitised copy, could not believe my eyes. Dad also talks about ‘Cruise of the Beacon‘ so checked around- another lovely surprise, good to be able to access on line – originals would be a Tatts wish.

27 October 2013 – In loving memory of George Collis Robinson

scan0067At 5.30am this day 96 years ago – George Collis Robinson passes away in the 2nd Canadian Clearing Station, Belgium he is 21 years of age, a lad from Badger Corner, Flinders Island, Tasmania.

George is buried in the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery near where he died a few kilometres from Poperinge. George is my Great Uncle, the youngest brother of my Grandfather Horace.

Emily, James and family devastated and the impact on their health is obvious in Em’s letters to the AIF and again 1922 after the death of beloved Edie.

Emily and James notice of thanks in the Examiner December 1917………Holt not Robinson as no one would have known who George Robinson was, as only used for official documents.

1918 – Memorial notices first anniversary of George’s death…..again Holt.

Mary Holt (Nee Ackerman) – wife of George’s uncle Johnny memorial notice.

We are planning a family memorial service at Georges grave on the 100th anniversary of his death, and invite all members of the Robinson, Holt clan to join us. The idea started ANZAC day 2011 after reading the circumstances in which George was injured and the full extent of his injuries and his bravery – we decided we would plan this trip to remember George on behalf of Grandfather Horace, his parents and siblings. This will be our way of keeping his memory alive.

The Australian War Graves Commission has granted permission for this to happen on 27 October. Four years seems a long way off – however gives plenty of time to save up. To contact me you can leave a comment which will be private in the first instance and not published if requested.IMG_5426 IMG_5425







26 October 1917

George was critically injured on the morning of 26 October  –  this day 96 years ago.

Reading the unit diary – there is mention of Pte Downing W who was killed. George and  Private Dicken noted as injured and evacuated, the diary is brief, the appendix, doesn’t offer any further explanation.

Reading George’s Red Cross file  ANZAC day 2011 was emotional to say the least, all we have ever known as far as family history goes is ‘George died from wounds’, reading the extent of his wounds and how he lay all day  in such perilous conditions was the start of  our plan to travel to George’s graveside in 2017. As Horace’s family, the decision was easy, to do what George’s family were unable in 1917.

George injured when a pill-box exploded, his injuries were compound fracture to both legs and his left arm including a head injuries, he was not rescued until later that evening under cover of darkness. He was transferred to the 2nd Canadian Clearing Station in the early hours Saturday 27th where he died at 5.30am. The one comfort in reading – he didn’t die alone in the  field.

Dan Bowman was close by as noted in one of the Red Cross letters, I should imagine he had a difficult time returning home without his sister Tot’s sweetheart, and his mate.

Private Nagle 5071 gives account as he was close by.

July 1916: Answering the call.

Horace 1894 and George 1896  Emily and James’ youngest children, possibly born on Long Island under the care of Mrs Burgess as elder sister Dolly was born there.

August 1914 the start of WWI, a few months earlier Horace was George were celebrating St Barnabas Day.

20 May 1915 – Jimmy Holt’s nephew Harold John Holt 22, son of William, joins the AIF, a Gunner 14th Field Artillery Brigade and honourably discharged 10/11/1919, reading Harold’s file tells us he spent time in Gallipoli, Lemnos, Dardanelles………..amazing!!! Harold John Holt

5 January 1916 – Emily Holt’s nephew James Willett 22 son of James and Fanny joins the AIF – having only recently discovered the Willett’s and the connection to the Collis and Robinson family when linking to mapping our ANZAC did James Willett click. I recall reading the list in 2011, recognising other old Island names, Willett didn’t mean anything at the time, it sure does now. April 20 Insert 4

21 July 1916 –  Horace 22 and George almost 20 sign up to join the Australian Imperial Force  in the footsteps of other lads from Flinders and Cape Barren Island.

With them is close family friend Daniel Thomas Bowman – Dan’s sister Tot, and George were sweethearts. scan0069

Emily and James handsome sons!! IMG_5578 These photo’s taken in Launceston by Burrows and Co. This photo of George is from the family collection but you can also see it in the in the Weekly Courier 1917  link 25 April 2011 the day I was introduced to the Mapping our ANZAC website (courtesy of my son in-law Chris his ANZAC day address at the end) and so inspired this history journey. Firstly I noticed – Horace and George’s physical characteristics on enlistment were same, I read to Dad, George was the same height as his father 5 feet 10 inches, Horace was 10 pounds heavier, his chest measurement slightly larger, both had fair complexion, blue eyes and sandy hair,  Dad said  ‘Dad and my Uncles always said George was the tallest in the family, he was 6 ft tall’,  for a brief minute I wished I hadn’t mentioned. I didn’t want to be responsible challenging family history about this……… then if I hadn’t we wouldn’t have known this particular story. I finally concluded after a little reflection, this was exactly the sort of history we needed to know, guiding us to understand how the Robinson family revered George, the baby of the family, their hero. Hopefully Dad still believes his Father and Uncles were correct, somehow the medico misread the measurements, and that suits me too!! 14 August 1916 – Horace was discharged on the grounds of being medically unfit. He would have returned home to his family after an emotional farewell with his baby brother, and so begins our George’s journey!