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Sydney 1915

What was happening in and around Sydney

The year 1915 saw Australians enter into battle at Gallipoli for the first time in World War I.  While families waited for news of loved ones, the task of supporting the war effort carried on at home.  Throughout New South Wales  the business of government continued, as Premier WA Holman undertook a leading role in recruitment for the AIF.  A number of other events took place throughout the year and are highlighted here.

Strickland Convalescent Home

The Strickland House Convalescent Hospital for Women opened for patients in January 1915.  In the following month, Denistone House Eastwood opened as a convalescent home for men.


State Governor’s Conference

In April the State Governor’s Conference was held in Sydney.  Sir Gerald Strickland was Governor of the New South Wales at the time.  As part of the conference, the governors visited Burrinjuck Dam, which was under construction at the time.


State Premier’s Conference

Interstate Premier's Conference taken at Parliament House, May 1915.

In May the annual State Premier’s Conference was held in Sydney.  Discussions focused on the proposed transfer of industrial powers to the Commonwealth, strategic railway planning, a national approach to exporting wheat, friendly societies and the nationalisation of the iron industry.

This photo shows the delegates at the Interstate Premier’s Conference taken at Parliament House.  NSW Premier WA Holman sits in the centre of the front row.



 Sinking of the Lusitania

Cartoon about the sinking of the Lusitania. From NRS 12060 [9/4704] 15/6436, p.11.



On 7 May the Cunard ocean liner, RMS Lusitania, was sunk after a German u-boat attack, killing 1198 British and Americans.  This led to an increased anti-German sentiment on both sides of the Atlantic, as represented in this cartoon.




Japanese naval visit

From 29 June to 5 July 1915 the Japanese Navy Training Squadron visited Sydney as part of a tour around southeast Asia and Australia.  The training squadron included two vessels, HIJMS Aso and Soya, under the command of the Rear Admiral Chijiro Chisaka.  Officers and crew undertook a variety of activities while in port, which included a visit to Cranbrook to meet Governor Strickland and a trip to the Blue Mountains.

Snowball march

On 12 November the first snowball march arrived in Sydney and was welcomed by Premier Holman.  There were 263 recruits on the march.

Allies Day

On 19 November Sydney celebrated Allies Day, the last of the big three big patriotic fundraising special days of 1915.  Earlier in the year Belgian Day (May) and Australia Day (July) had raised large amounts of money to help the war effort.

Research Tip – What else happened in 1915?

NRS324[7-5483]14-11441 On 9 April 1915 Mrs GA Hall, of 15 Pumsay St, Rozelle, was awarded a King’s Bounty of £3 for  the birth of triplets.  NRS 4512 [7/1560.2]  No. 47 A King’s Bounty was a grant given in the royal name and was paid out of the Privy Purse Office in Britain.  Applications had to be made through the Premier’s Office, who then forwarded the application to the Secretary of State via the State Governor.



Details of personal stories and the war-related events can sometimes be located in the following record series:

NRS 12060 Premier’s Dept Letters received – for the earlier years of the war this series contains a number of personal letters and correspondence from a variety of individual people and organisations throughout NSW.

NRS 905 Main series of letters received – contains personal letters and details about patriotic fundraising groups and activities.

NRS 4512 Despatches, circulars and cables from the Secretary of State and the Under Secretary, and copies of despatches to the Secretary of State, 1787-1971 – includes official correspondence between the NSW government and the British Secretary of State, messages from King George, and gives insight some personal stories, such as the one above.