John (Jack) MASON #5248

John Mason 47th Battalion

Indigenous Australian, John MASON, 47th Infantry Battalion

Jack Mason followed his brothers Allan and Leslie into camp when he volunteered to serve with the first AIF in October 1915.

The son of Thomas Mason and Rosanna ‘Rosa’ Owens in Walcha, NSW, his grandmother Maria Matthews was a Kamilaroi woman.

After initially training at Enoggera barracks, outside of Brisbane with the reinforcements for the 15th Infantry Battalion, he departed for the Middle East, 31 March 1916 arriving in Egypt six weeks later.

Australian troops had been withdrawn from Gallipoli in December 1915 and many units were reorganized before proceeding to Europe where they would meet a different enemy. Mason was remustered to the newly formed 47th Infantry Battalion, sailing for the port of Marseilles in June, from where they were transported to billets at Outtersteen and Merris, northern France.

In December 1916 Jack Mason was evacuated to hospital suffering severe effects from poisonous gas and shell shock. Taken by ship to England he was admitted to No.3 Auxiliary Hospital at Perham Downs for treatment.

He returned to his unit in France in May 1917 but soon after was wounded for the second time, in the right hand and left foot. Mason was evacuated to hospital in England where it was decided to return him home, to be discharged medically unfit.

Jack Mason married Olive Jean Durrand in Ipswich in February 1919, where they lived and raised their family until Jack’s death in 1948 age 64.

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