Towney KELLY #2176

Towney KELLY

Indigenous Australian, Towney KELLY, 10th Light Horse Regiment.

Towney (Thomas?) Kelly was born near Goondiwindi in 1891 to James and Louisa Kelly. When he volunteered to serve with the first AIF in June 1915 he named his friend and employer Archie Robinson as his next of kin.

Robinson was a well-known figure in the Goondiwindi district, a former teamster, after the introduction of the railway to the area he became a successful wool grower and horse breeder.

Towney Kelly trained at Brisbane before embarking in September for Egypt with the other reinforcements of the 25th Infantry Battalion.

Kelly was transferred to the 12th Australian Army Service Corps – AASC (3rd Light Horse Brigade Train) in January 1916 where he was mustered as a Driver. Shortly after he moved to the 10th Light Horse Regiment, which was chiefly made up of Western Australian soldiers.

The 10th Light Horse served at Gallipoli; contributed to the defense of the Suez Canal and the battles of Romani and Magdhaba. They also participated in the advance patrols into Palestine, and later Jerusalem, Es Salt and Damascus.

Driver (later Trooper) Towney Kelly was hospitalised in September 1916 with Influenza and in November 1917 with Pleurisy. The medical board then considered unfit for further active service and he was returned to Australia for discharge, via the New Zealand ship ‘Tofua’ in December 1917.

Towney Kelly returned to his civilian life as a stockman, working at Retreat Station, south of Longreach in 1919 and later on various properties in the Goondiwindi region. He died in August 1952.

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Marg Powell & Des Crump  |  QANZAC100, State Library of Queensland