Indigenous Australian, Trooper Archie MURPHY, 6th Light Horse Regiment.
At the age of 13 Archie [Archibald] MURPHY left Queensland as part of a team drafting cattle to NSW. He was taken in and raised by the Bayliss family of Wanganella and later became an employee of the NSW Police Service in Deniliquin as a tracker.
In 1917 he married Daisy Martha Lewis, they had already had a young son Percy William Robert Murphy; that same year he volunteered to serve with the first AIF, signing his application in Hay, NSW.
Archie was allotted to the 34th Reinforcements for the 6th Light Horse Regiment and attended the Light Horse training camp at Menangle Park. Trooper Murphy embarked from Sydney on board RMS Ormonde in March 1918. His training had not been without incident, he fractured his hand in October 1917 and had been admitted to hospital with Measles and Bronchitis in November.
When Archie Murphy arrived in Egypt he spent 4 weeks with the 2nd Light Horse Training Regiment at Moascar, before joining his own Regiment at Solomon’s Pools, south west of Bethlehem.
The Light Horse Regiments to part in extended patrols throughout the Jordan Valley in 1918 before the surrender of the Ottoman Empire in October.
Trooper Murphy was accidentally injured while taking part in Regimental Sports held in November 1918 at Wadi Hanein, Palestine. He was thrown from his horse during the ‘Best section of Light Horsemen over Hurdles’ event and slightly injured his neck and head.
The men of the 6th Light Horse remained in Egypt during the first half of 1919 assisting with security during the Egyptian uprising against British Rule.
On his return voyage Archie Murphy was admitted to the ships hospital suffering the effects of Malaria, which he had contracted in the field in December 1918. When discharged in September 1919 he was declared medically unfit due to this ‘disability.’
Bayliss family, Wanganella, NSW with Archie Murphy far right, rear. Image supplied.
Archie Murphy returned to his work as a tracker in Deniliquin and later in Orange. He was granted a returned soldiers block in Goodooga where he remained until his death in 1979. Both Archie and his son Percy enlisted to serve for their country in the Second World War.
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Image 1: Private Archie Murphy and John Morwick Smith, (seated) of the 6th Light Horse regiment, taken in the Middle east in early 1918. Taken from a photograph on page 6 of the Resource Book, for which it is provided by Marie Smith.
Image 2: Young Archie Murphy with his ‘adopted’ family- Left off side: George Stephens who worked for Ingrams. Back left: Mary-Anne , George and Archie Murphy who was brought up by the Bayliss family. Front: Matilda, Phillip, Matilda, Margaret and Annie.
- [Enlistment] Riverine Grazier 1 June 1917 p2
- [Reported killed] Riverine Grazier 19 March 1920 p2
- [Services to be dispensed with] Riverina Herald 5 June 1928 p4
- The Tin Camp: a study of contemporary Aboriginal Architecture in North Western NSW by Stephanie Diana Smith [thesis]
- SERVICE RECORD: MURPHY, Archie
- EMBARKATION ROLL: 34th Reinf. 6th Light Horse Regiment
- One of the soldiers featured in SLQ’s HistoryPin Collection
- View the whole Collection: Indigenous enlistment
- Queensland’s Indigenous Servicemen Digital Story and Oral History
Marg Powell & Des Crump | QANZAC100, State Library of Queensland