Hawkesbury Library Service will have a special touring exhibition of Aboriginal ANZAC WWI diggers from the Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains on display from Wednesday, April 26.
The exhibition focuses on the WWI service of the descendants of Maria Lock, (daughter of Darug elder, Yarramundi), after whom a ward is named at Hawkesbury Hospital. Many spell the name Locke.
The groundbreaking project received funding from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs ANZAC Centenary Local Grants Program.
One of the 11 Aboriginal soldiers featured is Allen Leslie Locke. There is some mystery surrounding him, including a probable double identity. From the research of Philippa Scarlett there is evidence that Thomas Locke is the same person as Allen Leslie Locke. Either way, it’s a story of human drama and ultimately, tragedy.
Allen Leslie Locke was born in the Blue Mountains in 1885. He was the son of Charles Locke and Amelia Mary Jane Ramos Morgan, nee Freelander. He married Beatrice Priscilla Wharton in 1908.
Life before the war appeared to have been hard for him and Beatrice, both being involved in petty crime. At one point Allen was found drunk and injured on the railway tracks.
He enlisted on March 27,1916 at the age of 32. He was part of C Company, Depot Bathurst and on April 25, 1916 he joined C Company, 4th Reinforcements, 45th Battalion. He was unable to serve overseas due to bad teeth so it appears he re-enlisted as Thomas Locke.
Thomas Locke, aged 34 of Schofield Sidings, enlisted in Granville on June 9, 1917. His papers were initially marked ‘Hawkesbury unit Australian Light Horse’. Both enlistment forms (for Allen Leslie and Thomas) list Beatrice Priscilla/Pricella/Precella Locke (nee Wharton) as wife and next of kin. Both forms also list dark complexion, dark hair, brown eyes, defective teeth, exactly the same height and chest measurements and a similar age.
Thomas left for Cairo on December 19, 1917 and served with the 7th Light Horse in Egypt. He was injured in November 1918 while on leave in Cairo. He returned to Australia on August 3, 1919.
Allen Leslie Locke died aged 66 on March 21, 1952 on the railway tracks at Warrimoo after being hit by a train.
The exhibition and project website will be launched on Wednesday, April 26 at 3.30pm in the Tebbutt Room, Deerubbin Centre, 300 George Street, Windsor with free afternoon tea. Visit: aboriginaldiggersWW1.com.