Sunday, March 26, 2017

“Haig” The War Tank

“Haig” The War Tank
On Tuesday the 16th of April 1918 Kapundites came out in their droves to see a real-life Army tank in their town,
 As part of a national tour, the Government’s “War Loan Tank” arrived to much fanfare in Kapunda in the early evening. It was met at the southern end of town by the Mayor, Mr Jeff’s along with a procession of school children arranged by teacher Mr Murphy.
The War Tank was in the control of Lieutenant Colley, who, at the corner of Thompson's gave a rousing speech outlining the Australian war effort overseas, and how the people back home can contribute.
 The Kapunda Town Band played from the balcony of the North Kapunda Hotel whilst the tank was driven to Mr Thompson corner (Where the town information centre sits today on the corner of Hill and Main Street).
 The Commonwealth Bank provided two escorts who travelled with the tank to collect donations from the townsfolk to support the war effort overseas.
 Townsfolk and business were very generous with their donations, by the end of the evening £1.700 had been raised, with a promise by Mr Shannon to the Mayor that he would raise it to an even £2,000.
 The Sir John Franklin Lodge, I.O.OF. M.U. donated £700, and £300 from the Salem Tent No. 8 Rechabites.

The township of Kapunda had already raised £ 30, 000 by 1918, plus Sir Sidney Kidman had given £50,500 of his own money, as well as donating wool, meat, 200 horses, 2 planes and 3 ambulances (the townsfolk of Kapunda also raised enough money for one more ambulance).
(Kidman also guaranteed the jobs of his workers who went away to war, and gave monetary assistance to the families of his employees who lost their father, husband or son overseas in battle.)
 The tank later returned to Kapunda in October of the same year for the seventh war loan tour. Then headed of too Angaston in the Barossa Valley the next day to continue its money raising endeavour. By the end of its second visit the townsfolk of Kapunda had donated £11,000

The photo above is from The State Library of South Australia [PRG 280/1/17/384], part of the Searcy Collection. It shows the war tank “Haig” out front of Thompson building (with what is now The Professionals in the background). On the tank is Lieutenant Colley and the Mayor on-board. In front is Mr Kidman’s 35hp Overland Tourer, registration number 4926

Researched and written by Allen Tiller

£ = Australian Pounds – a pre-decimal currency.

1918 'Kapunda Herald', Kapunda Herald (SA : 1878 - 1951), 11 October, p. 2. , viewed 21 Mar 2017,

1918 'Kapunda herald', Kapunda Herald (SA : 1878 - 1951), 19 April, p. 2. , viewed 21 Mar 2017,

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Royal Visit: 1866

The Royal Visit

In 1886, Kapunda was graced with a Royal visit from the then Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Alfred,
Queen Victoria's second son.
 Whilst in South Australia on a Royal Tour, Prince Alfred made a visit to Kapunda on November 6th, coming to Kapunda via train direct from Adelaide Station.

Once the Prince arrived at Kapunda Train Station, which had been adorned with pine branches and fronds (as had much of the town, a simple decoration for simpler times), The Prince was whisked into an awaiting carriage.
The Prince's ornamental carriage made its way towards the centre of town, surrounded by soldiers, and a large crowd of cheering and adoring Royal fans, keen to get a glimpse of the Prince.

 Through-out the town large Union Jack flags waved next to large banners with the words "Welcome to our Sailor Prince” written across them, also around the town were family crests and the flag of St George.

Prince Alfred was taken via carriage to Mr Crase's newly refurbished North Kapunda Hotel. After a tour of the hotel from top to bottom, the Prince retired briefly to a sitting room upstairs carefully prepared for his arrival.

 Not long after, a banquet held in his honour, commenced in the rear ballroom (now demolished) of the hotel. Amongst the many dishes served was one dish usually reserved for the dining room of the Queen, and only served within the walls of the Palace. The Prince was very curious about this and asked for the cook to brought to him for questioning.
  The Prince questioned the cook on his preparation of the meal, asking how he knew the recipe. The cook informed the Prince, that he had indeed been the Queens personal chef previous to arriving in Australia, and now cooked and served in The North Kapunda Hotel. Upon hearing of the Royal Tour, he had become excited, and prepared the specialty Royal meal in the Prince's honour, to make him feel a little more like he was at home.

 After a number of hearty speeches by town dignitaries, the Prince and Mr Crase himself, and three cheers of “Hoor-ruh”, Prince Alfred made his way back to the Kapunda Railway Station, where he boarded the Royal Train and made his way back to Adelaide continuing his tour of the country.