Sidney ROBERTS #3491

Sidney Roberts

Indigenous Australian, Sidney ROBERTS, 5th Light Horse Regiment.

Sidney ROBERTS, born in 1888 to Nugget Roberts (1854-1919) and Liza (Eliza) on Tongy Station near Mitchell, Qld.

Roberts was a station hand at Tomoo Station, Mitchell when he volunteered to serve with the first AIF in June 1917 and travelled to Rifle Range Camp at Enoggera, Brisbane for training.

Initially Roberts was selected to join the 20th Reinforcements for the 11th Light Horse Regiment and would have known many of the men in camp, as over 20 of these were also indigenous recruits, including his brother-in-law James Lingwoodock.

However in March 1918 Trooper Roberts was transferred to the 30th Reinforcements for the 5th Light Horse Regiment and left Sydney in the company of Frank Balser, Frederick Teare and George West bound for Egypt on the troopship ‘Ormonde’.

On arrival at Port Suez they were sent to the 2nd Light Horse Training Regiment at Moascar where they rested and were brought back to strength after their voyage.

In June 1918, twelve months after enlisting Sid Roberts joined his regiment as they were encamped at Solomon’s Pools in the Judean Hills south west of the ancient city of Bethlehem, Palestine.

The regiment was shortly after ordered to return to the Jordan Valley where it took over the defense of a series of detached posts along the whole of the valley. Mosquito prone, many man were invalided home having contracting malaria after serving in this area.

Trooper Roberts fell ill in December 1918 and was removed to hospital for treatment, but not for malaria, he suffered from the commonly contracted ‘soldier’s disease’ VD. Although he did return to the regiment in February he was admitted twice more before returning home on board the troopship ‘Madras’ in August 1919.

Sid Roberts returned to Queensland and was granted an exemption from the Aboriginals Protection Act, Qld in 1922 which allowed him to live and work freely among the wider community. He was at the time working at Dingwall Station; it is not recorded whether Sid Roberts married, he died in 1936 age 48.

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