Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

George Handley's Great Life

Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

George Handley's Great Life

Article excerpt

ON MARCH 14, 1916, my great-grandfather George Handley enlisted in the Australian Army.

Hundreds of thousands of Australians did the same during World War One.

His reasons for enlisting and the way in which he did was different than most.

Shane Handley

This is his story.

George Handley was born in Claypole, Lincolnshire, England, on January 28, 1863.

He was one of 11 children born to William and Rebecca Handley.

As a young man, he came to Australia and worked as a farm labourer in the rich farming land of the Lockyer Valley.

He returned to England a couple of years later, but realised that there were great opportunities here in Queensland and made plans to return again one day.

George married Annie Bramley in Claypole on the July, 1889, and decided to make a new life in Australia.

They set sail from Blackwall, London, on board the passenger ship Dacca on April 29, 1890.

This journey would have taken almost two months but, on May 16, the ship ran aground on Daedalus Reef in the Red Sea and eventually sank.

All crew and passengers survived, but George did spend some time in the water during this fearful ordeal.

A paragraph taken from an article in the Bundaberg Mail and Burnett Advertiser dated March 14, 1916, some 26 years later, described his actions on that day.

It read: "Mr Kitching, in referring to Mr Handley's readiness and willingness to help and assist at all times, told how the gentleman had been shipwrecked on his voyage out to Australia and that he had been instrumental during that terrible time in saving many lives by his heroic actions and assistance."

The passengers and crew were picked up by nearby vessels and returned to the Suez where they waited 12 weeks for a passenger ship from Liverpool to transport them to Australia.

George and Annie arrived in Brisbane, continued on to the Lockyer Valley and settled at Laidley.

Their first-born twins, George Junior and Henery, were born three months later.

Henery passed away at three months old.

Ernest (my grandfather) was born three years later in 1893.

The young family lived in the Lockyer Valley for three and a half years before moving to Watawa, an area now known as Tirroan, near Gin Gin. …

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