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Red Triangle Day – WWI

Red Triangle Day

In an effort to raise money for Australian soldiers overseas during World War One, the Y.M.C.A (Young Men’s Christian Association) began the Red Triangle campaign in 1917.
The campaign spanned all of Australia and rolled out through South Australia over many months.

In Adelaide, the Adelaide Citizens Committee became involved in the fund-raising effort and through the dedication of 700 female volunteers, raised over two and half thousand pounds in one day on May 24th, 1917.
This was achieved by closing off sections of Rundle Street and Gawler Place and holding a market. A procession of troops, bands and decorated cars also added to the atmosphere of the day.

As the State began to embrace the Red Triangle Day appeal, it was decided that its official “day” would be August 31st across the State.

A gala day was held in Mount Barker in August 1917, which became an all-night fund-raising event held at The Mount Barker Town Hall.

Kapunda celebrated Red Triangle Day on September 1st, 1917. The Kapunda celebration featured a button unique to their celebration, which is extremely rare and collectable today.

Peterborough (then known as Petersburg) celebrated in September 1917, proudly supported by the Burra Ladies Band. This was the first time a “Lady’s Band” had ever played a concert in Peterborough. This led to large crowds gathering in the Town Hall later in the day to hear the ladies sing, while local ladies sold pins and flowers to raise money for the Y.M.C.A.

Stansbury, on the Yorke Peninsula, celebrated Red Triangle day with a fete on August 31st, 1917.

Through the cooperation of the State War Council, The Minister of Education and the Children’s Patriotic Fund a fund-raising competition in South Australian schools raised money for the Y.M.C.A. Red Triangle Day appeal. The reward for the winning school was a large banner proclaiming their effort and the honour of knowing they were supporting the Australian war effort overseas.

The Red Triangle appeal carried over into 1918, with Unley, in June 1918, being canvassed with a door to door sale of a unique Red Triangle pin created for the day. A small gathering of locals also attended a small musical show at the Unley City Hall headquarters. 

In May 1919, Red Triangle Day continued in Port Pirie with a football match between the Smelter Imperials and the Y.M.C.A.

The August 1917 appeal in Australia raised £159,037 28 (that’s around $14,198,000 in today’s money).

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2018


1917 ‘RED TRIANGLE DAY’, The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser (SA: 1880 – 1954), 3 August, p. 2. , viewed 30 Dec 2018,
Advertiser (Adelaide, SA: 1889 – 1931), Saturday 21 July 1917, page 8
1917 ‘Y.M.C.A. WAR WORK’, Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA: 1910 – 1924), 1 August, p. 8. , viewed 30 Dec 2018,
1917 ‘RED TRIANGLE DAY’, Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA: 1910 – 1924), 2 August, p. 3. , viewed 30 Dec 2018,
1917 ‘THE COUNTRY.’, The Register (Adelaide, SA: 1901 – 1929), 4 August, p. 5. , viewed 30 Dec 2018,
1917 ‘RED TRIANGLE DAY APPEAL’, Chronicle (Adelaide, SA: 1895 – 1954), 4 August, p. 34. , viewed 30 Dec 2018,
1917 ‘Advertising’, The Mail (Adelaide, SA: 1912 – 1954), 4 August, p. 3. , viewed 30 Dec 2018,
1918 ‘ONLEY RED TRIANGLE DAY.’, Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA: 1910 – 1924), 8 June, p. 4. , viewed 30 Dec 2018,
1919 ‘RED TRIANGLE DAY.’, Recorder (Port Pirie, SA: 1919 – 1954), 28 May, p. 2. , viewed 30 Dec 2018,
1917 ‘RED TRIANGLE DAY.’, Petersburg Times (SA: 1887 – 1919), 5 October, p. 3. , viewed 30 Dec 2018,

The Strange Case of the Headless Calf.

The Strange Case of the Headless Calf.

 In 1875, Mount Gambier resident Mrs Buchan, over three nights, had strange dreams about her daughter Mary, who had mysteriously disappeared.


Mary Buchan
Photo: Les Hill Collection – Mount Gambier Library.

Mary Buchan had fallen in love with an older man named William Page. They dated for a while, and it was thought it would not be long until he proposed. Then one day, Mary disappeared. Police investigated, but could not find the girl, nor any motive for her leave the town unannounced.

 The night after her disappearance, Mary’s mother had a disturbing nightmare. In her dream, she was looking over Hedley Park at Mount Gambier. (Hedley Park was bounded by Sturt Street in the north, Bay Road in the east, and South Terrace in the south, with Cemetery Road to its west.)
 In the dream, Mrs Buchan could see a herd of cows standing in one corner of the field. She watched as a calf left the herd and walked across the field. It stopped at about halfway across the field. Mrs Buchan watched the calf, and suddenly it dawned on her, that the calf that had just stopped, but had walked across the field, had no head!
 Mrs Buchan woke up sweating and full of terror.

She told a close friend of the dream, and it was passed off as a nightmare due to the stress of her

Mary Buchan 1870: SLSA: [16747]

missing daughter. The following night, Mrs Buchan had the exact same dream. Again, it was brushed off as a nightmare caused by stress.
 After the third night of having the exact same dream, Mrs Buchan could ignore it no longer. The following morning, she reported it to the police who ignored her claim. Mrs Buchan instead arranged with friends to plough the field. They found in the exact spot Mrs Buchan had seen the headless calf, the remains of her daughter, Mary. The police were called to confirm and investigate.

The spot where Mary Buchan’s lifeless body lay was only 150 metres from a police station and even less from houses. If she had screamed, people most certainly would have heard her. The field had only recently been ploughed, so her shallow grave was not noticeable to the naked eye.

 It was eventually revealed that William Page had murdered Mary Buchan by strangulation after she refused his sexual advances. Page was later hung at the Mount Gambier Gaol, which you can read about, and more details about the case, at a previous blog post here:
Mary Buchan’s grave 1875 SLSA: [16748]

Mary Julia Buchan is buried in Lake Terrace Cemetery, Mount Gambier, section G, plot 203. She was just 19 years old at the time of her murder. May she rest in peace. (her mother Mary Buchan is buried nearby in plot 236.)

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2019

‘DREAMS OF DEATH’, The Mail, (9 November 1929), p. 3.
‘THE HEDLEY PARK TRAGEDY.’, Border Watch, (7 August 1875), p. 2.

Infanticide at North Adelaide

Infanticide at North Adelaide

North Adelaide 1910- SLSA: [B 3466]

History is not always kind, nor nice…

 The Town Clerks Avenue isn’t well-known terminology for many Adelaidean’s, even many that probably walk the avenue daily. It’s a walkway through the parklands leading from Sir Edwin Smith Avenue at Angas Gardens, along the Torrens River to Frome Road. It was established in 1917.

 On December 20, 1885, Adelaide Corporation Ganger (labourer) John Collins was walking along the Town Clerks Avenue just after 7am, heading into work from his home in North Adelaide.  As he was wandering along the path, he noticed a package lying in a drain. He retrieved the package and look inside to find the corpse of a baby boy, wrapped in newspaper and a large sheet of brown paper.
 The blood on the paper was fresh and still damp.

 Collins rushed to the North Adelaide police station and reported the find to the local constable Bea. Police-constable Bea attended the location and found three men standing around the package discussing its contents. Bea retrieved the package and returned with it to the police station.

 That evening Doctor Melville Jay attended the police station and conducted a post-mortem examination on the child’s body. He found that the child weighed just over six pounds, was 12 inches long, and from the appearance of the babies’ head, had been through a long labour. The child’s head had been almost severed from its body. There were large incisions across the neck that cut through to the spine.

 Most horrific, Doctor Jay discovered the organs of the baby and discovered that it had been born alive, the right lung was full of air, but he concluded that its life must have been cut short very quickly as the left lung had failed to be inflated.
  Also submitted to the post-mortem were a knife and men’s jacket that had been discovered in a yard on Poole Street in North Adelaide.
  During an inquest held at the Destitute Asylum on Kermode Street, witnesses came forward with descriptions of the mother of the child. The first was Ada Chickwidden.
  On 19 December, prior to the finding of the babies’ body on the Town Clerks Avenue. Ada Chickwidden saw, at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, a young woman of around 2 to 30 years of age, enter Hosking’s Shop in North Adelaide. The woman seemed unwell.
 She noted that she wore a black dress with a square plaid in front. The woman had entered the shop to inquire about the time.
 Prior to her entering the shop, Chickwidden had noticed the woman looking over the fence into the backyard. The woman left, and Chickwidden went back to her duties, leaving a bag with some paper in it, and a coat at the rear door outside the shop to be disposed of.
 On December 20, Chickwidden saw blood on the bricks at the rear of the shop, near the bag and coat she was taken outside the day prior.
 The night before, when laying in bed, she had heard someone telling a dog to quiet down but hadn’t paid much attention.
 During the inquest, Chickwidden identified the papers the child had been wrapped in as being the same ones she had put outside in a bag, she had meant to dispose of at a later date.
Chickwidden also stated she had seen the woman lying in the sand on New Years Day at Largs Bay, she went to speak to her, but the women would not look at her, so she left her there.

 The next witness in the inquest was Catherine Hollak of Finnis Street. Hollak stated she had heard noises coming from an empty “china man’s hut” next door to her own house. She went to inspect what was going on and found a young woman there. Hollak identified the young woman as one her and her husband had allowed to stay in their house a month prior. Hollak said to her; “This is a rather peculiar place for you to come.”; but the woman didn’t reply.
 Hollak asked her if she had a home, the woman replied; “No, I wish my throat was cut or that I was in the Torrens.”
 Hollak then offered the woman to come to stay at her house again and told the woman she would be back shortly, as she was first going to ask her husband if it was ok. Hollak left and when she returned the woman was gone.
 Hollak looked for, and chased her down in a street nearby, she asked the woman why she had left, but received an indistinct reply. The woman walked off and left Hollak standing there confused.
 Hollak described the woman as wearing a black dress and a black hat with a feather in it. She had seen the woman about the place for many years but had never known her name. Hollak knew the woman worked as a servant somewhere near Park Street but knew no more about her.
 A few days later the inquest reached its conclusion of: “wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.” It is not known whether the baby received a proper burial, or if the woman ever came forward
Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2019


‘INFANTICIDE AT NORTH ADELAIDE.’, South Australian Register, (15 January 1885), p. 7.
‘THE NORTH ADELAIDE INFANTICIDE.’, Evening Journal, (6 January 1885), p. 2.

Shades of Black – Allen Tiller

Shades of Black – Allen Tiller

All my life I’ve written poetry and short stories. For a few years I was an editor on what was the worlds biggest poetry website (2002- 2006) Author-Me. I was never confident about letting others read my inner voice, but I eventually overcame that. Putting some of that work into a collection was a daunting, but after an interview with the Rev Shawn Whittington, I thought “what the hell, why not do it? “…

So Ladies and Gentleman, without further Adieu, I present: “Shades of Black”, a collection of poetry, prose and short stories by me 😊

Shades of Black: “A collection of poetry, prose and short stories written by award-winning historian and paranormal investigator Allen Tiller over three decades. This collection includes many previously unpublished original works written by Allen in his early twenties.”

P.S. If you are looking to buy a print copy, with the current exchange rate between the US $ and AU $, it is very expensive for Aussies (other countries isn’t so bad), so I launched a Kindle version as well….hopefully when the dollar is performing better, I might be able to get a few physical copies and sign them, then send them out😊

As always, thanks for your support – it’s much appreciated 😊


Kindle Ebook:


The Green Dragon Brewery

The Green Dragon Brewery

Chambers and Blades Brewery Ltd was founded in 1871 by F.J. Blades with his Brothers-in-law, William and Charles Chambers.

Chambers and Blades bought the Green Dragon Hotel, The Tanner’s Arms in Unley and the Queens Head Hotel and South Australian Hotel (of which they paid 28, 500 pounds for the freehold lease) in Adelaide. The men also owned vacant land on Surflen Street, Adelaide.

The Green Dragon Brewery located behind the hotel was first occupied by Chambers and Blade Brewers Ltd. who used the building until 1901.
Green Dragon Brewery was merged with the Walkerville Co-operative Brewing Company in 1901. William Chambers remained on the board of the new company as did Frederick Blades.

For the following six years the former Green Dragon Brewery building remained empty until, in 1907, it was taken over by Richard Mitchell & Co. Carriers. In 1916, the Adelaide Motor Bus Company used the building for storage of its double-decker buses for a year. From 1917, Richard Mitchell & Co. again used the large building for storage.
In 1926 a fire broke out in the old building gutting much of the building.
In 1931 the building was offered for sale.

Green Dragon Brewery 1901

SLSA: [PRG 631/2/1241]

In 1952, the Green Dragon Brewery building still stood as a local landmark. It was noted in The News, that the buildings name had influenced local nomenclature with a Green Dragon Furniture Storage House operating nearby, and a new Green Dragon Service Station, operated by ex-servicemen about to open.

Mr Frederick James Blades (1829 – 1895) came to South Australia in 1849 from Stamford, Lincolnshire, England. Blades married Mary Chambers (1846 –1925) in 1869.

Blades died at his estate, “Lyndhurst” on South Terrace on 16 November 1895, aged 65. He left a wife and seven children. F.J. Blades is buried in West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide.

Charles Chambers (1843-1877) and William Chambers (1849-1930) were sons of John Chambers, a wealthy pastoralist and mining speculator who had stations at Cherry Gardens, Cobdogla, and near present-day Renmark and mining interests near Blinman.

Charles was married for only four years to Mary Ransford (1849-1925) before his death in 1877. The pair had one child, Edgar, who managed the West End Brewery in Broken Hill. Charles died at his sheep station at Brimbago (near Keith). Mount Charles (near Keith) and Charles Creek (near Alice Springs) were named in Charles honour. Charles and Mary Chambers are buried at the North Road Cemetery, Nailsworth.

William Chambers was born at Cherry Gardens. He was educated at Young’s School, and later at St Peters College before working on one of his father’s many cattle stations. He married Clara Bailey (1854-1937) in 1877. Together they had three children. William retired in 1912 due to his failing health. William died at his home on Fitzroy Terrace, Thorngate in 1930, aged 80. William and Clara Chambers are buried in the North Road Cemetery, Nailsworth.

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2019


‘Advertising’, South Australian Register, (27 August 1877), p. 2

‘Advertising’, The Advertiser, (5 July 1937), p. 12. Australia, Death Index, 1787-1985 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.

‘ASSIGNMENT.’, Evening Journal, (25 September 1872), p. 2.

‘BIG CITY PROPERTY TO BE AUCTIONED’, Advertiser and Register, 20 June 1931, p. 10.

‘Death Of Mr W. Chambers, Pioneer Brewer’, The Register News-Pictorial, (24 May 1930), p. 22.

Donovan, Marsden & Stark, City of Adelaide Heritage Survey 1982, Adelaide City Archives.

‘Family Notices’, Evening Journal, (20 November 1895), p. 2.

‘FIRE IN ADELAIDE.’, Recorder, (22 November 1926), p. 4.

‘OBITUARY’, The Advertiser, (24 May 1930), p. 17.

Roberts, Mick, Early taverns of South Australia, Time Gents, (21 August 2017),

‘THE LATE MR. F. J. BLADES.’, The Express and Telegraph, (18 November 1895), p. 3.

‘The odd spot’, News, (15 August 1952), p. 3.