El Arish salutes the Generals

Anzac Day Street signage project – April 25, 2015
Guest Blog – El Arish Sports and Recreational Association Inc. North Queensland
The small soldier settlement township of El Arish in North Queensland has only seven streets and an eighth one leading in to the town from the Bruce Highway. Six of them are named for First World War Generals – Chauvel , Monash, Glasgow, Ryrie, Royston and Wilson.
The seventh street is named for Francis Paxton Martin who was the supervisor of the Maria Creek Soldier Settlement and nearby, the eighth is named for Tasman Millington, a soldier and supervisor of war graves at Gallipoli during WWI.

Image: Soldiers settlement home at El Arish. Occupants are unidentified standing on the verandah of a Soldier Settler's house. Digitised image of photo published in the Jubilee Souvenir of Innisfail & District 1873-1923.

Soldiers settlement home at El Arish. Occupants standing on the verandah are unidentified. This image was first published in the Jubilee Souvenir of Innisfail & District 1873-1923.

The Anzac Day signage project brought everyone together to commemorate the soldiers and their service to the British Empire.

The new sign post in place on Glasgow Street, El Arish in 2015. Photo by El Arish Sports and Recreational Association Inc.

The new sign post in place on Glasgow St, El Arish in 2015. Photo – El Arish Sports and Recreational Association Inc.

A summary of each General’s war service record is proudly displayed on the signposts. They include a photograph, a brief biography, and a stylized profile of Princess Mary, the 17-year-old daughter of King George V and Queen Mary who was responsible for raising the funds to gift every soldier and sailor a small brass tin. These tins contained various items, including cigarettes or writing supplies. The Committee elected to commemorate this aspect of WWI history because it demonstrated how equalizing war was…General or Private… all had one aim and each was given one small tin. Read the summarized account of each General here.

Princess Mary gift tin: Sister L A Walter, Australian Army Nursing Service, AIF. Australian War Memorial collection.

Princess Mary gift tin: Sister L A Walter, Australian Army Nursing Service, AIF. Australian War Memorial collection.

Four of the signs (ie.Glasgow, Ryrie, Royston and Wilson) stand at the western end of their streets. The Henry Chauvel street sign is placed alongside the El Arish History Station, Chauvel Street. The John Monash sign is positioned at the Cenotaph in Monash Street.

Streets of El Arish, Queensland. Source: Google – Map data © 2017 GBRMPA, Google

Streets of El Arish, Queensland. Source: Google – Map data © 2017 GBRMPA, Google

The project was possible due to a successful grant application received from the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs ANZAC Centenary Local Grants Program. Our application was kindly facilitated by the Federal Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter’s office (Mount Isa).

The signposts and supports were handcrafted locally and the artistic design created by Armsign, Lismore, NSW.

Our small committee was very pleased to salute “our Generals” in this way.
Marie Carman
El Arish Sports and Recreational Association Inc.

Further Reading

Princess Mary’s Christmas Gift – Australian War Memorial

Australian Government – Department of Veterans Affairs

Anzac Centenary Local Grants approved list