Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

True Hero Immortalised

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

True Hero Immortalised

Article excerpt

Byline: Lisa Hemmings

IT IS a little known fact but the first three war memorials in Queensland are to a soldier who grew up near Allora.

Lieutenant Lachlan John Caskey made the ultimate sacrifice for liberty and right, under the British Empire in the Boer War (1899-1902).

The Boer War was the first war Australia fought in as a nation, and gave birth to the Australian Army.

Before federation Britain put out for the call to her colonies to help fight in South Africa against the Boers who had declared war.

But long before war was declared, Thomas and Margery Caskey brought into the world their son Lachlan (known as Jack) John Caskey on May 29, 1870.

The couple and their children settled at Spring Creek, near Allora, with Caskey attending Spring Creek State School as a five year old in 1875, the same year his father died.

Ten years later he became a pupil teacher at Bulimba State School, and finished his training. He taught at several Brisbane and Ipswich schools before settling at Leichhardt Street State School for Boys in 1893.

From the Inspector's reports we have a glimpse of his teaching aan acute, industrious youtha (1889) afair skill, active, energetic, not intellectuala (1899).

He was an active member of the fledgling Queensland Teachers' Union in the 1890's as well as members of the Valley Electoral Cricket Club, The Valley Tennis Club and the Football Referees Association.

He also joined the Queensland Teachers' Volunteer Corps (QTVC) in 1893 and ran the cadets at Leichhardt street. When war broke out, he enlisted in the Fifth contingent, Queensland Imperial Bushmen on February 25, 1901, and he arrived in South Africa on March 30, 1901.

Later that year, September 27, Caskey was killed in action aleading his men against overwhelming numbers,a at Makari Drift, Caledon River.

It was reported that his body was found alater the next day clad only in a singlet, all his belongings having been taken by the Boersa.

Even a gold ring, engraved ajacka that had been given to Caskey by his mates in Brisbane, had been taken.

Captain T.H. Dodds later said ,aAnd so he is dead a good brave old Jack. He wouldn't surrender when called on, and died fighting to the last. He was our best and most reliable officer.a

Soon after his death, three separate memorials were being organised in his honour, the first three war memorials in Queensland. All were officially opened by the Minister for Public Instruction (Education) Mr J G Anderson, such was the esteem the education department had for him.

The first was a tablet erected at the Leichhardt Street State School for boys and was reported on in the Brisbane Courier on December 13, 1901. …

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