Indigenous Australian, George SPOONER, Depot.
Born Georgetown in December 1899 to Henry Spooner and Jane Dougherty, George SPOONER did not know of any living relatives when he volunteered to serve with the first AIF in June 1917.
Spooner enlisted in Charleville alongside another Indigenous serviceman, George Hill, together they departed via that day’s mail train for the training camp at Brisbane. Assigned to No.1 Depot Camp, at Enoggera, George Spooner was medically assessed for active service.
As a young man he had suffered a major injury to his collar-bone, which had not mended well, leaving him with a physique which did not meet the Army’s requirements. The examining officer recommended his discharge and his papers were marked ‘Character Good’ but ‘Medically Unfit’.
Spooner had been working as a drover for Charles Reardon, the head stockman for two pastoral stations, near Camooweal, prior to enlisting. He returned to the Maranoa and in 1919 was working as a stockman for Bierbank Station, near Charleville. Spooner had obtained an exemption certificate from the Aboriginals Protect Act, allowing him to live and work amongst the general community.
In 1927 he married Jane Passmore and continued to work in North Queensland as a stockman and labourer until his death in 1973, at Rockhampton.
Read more …
- SERVICE RECORD: SPOONER, George
- COUNTRY VOLUNTEERS. The Brisbane Courier, 6 June 1917 p7
- 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