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Norman Abbott FERGUSON


Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Gunner 35y9m 15/12/16 1/11/1919 3

Gunner Norman Abbott Ferguson (1881 - 1949)

Ferguson Brothers Booklet

The Ferguson Family and Abbotsford

James Ferguson of Brisbane and Eliza Jane née Abbott (known as Jeanne), fifth daughter of Thomas Abbott of Dungog, New South Wales were married at Crescent Lodge, Rockhampton on 3 October 1876.  The Minister of the Rockhampton Presbyterian Church, Rev. Alexander Hay officiated.  Mr James Ferguson was the senior partner in the firm Watson Ferguson and Company, booksellers, stationers and printers.

The Ferguson family home was Abbotsford at Enoggera, a magnificent colonial home with wide verandahs on all sides. It was situated on a large property or “paddock” used for the Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Sabbath School annual picnic for many years.  The cover photograph could well be such an occasion.  In 1924 the land was subdivided and a portion of the house was moved to Gizeh Street.  It is now called Hoya.  Portion of the larger paddock is now called Ferguson Park, near Gaythorne Railway Station.

Nine children were born to Mr and Mrs Ferguson.  Three sons died in infancy.  Of the other five sons, four enlisted for service abroad in the Great War.  Eric Abbott Ferguson, the eldest, remained at home and continued his father’s business. The only girl in the family was the youngest child, Jean Abbott Ferguson (1895 – 1967) who later married Captain Henry Cottam (1882 – 1945).

Two of the four soldier sons, Hector and Douglas, paid the supreme sacrifice. Norman and Malcolm returned to Australia.  After the death of their father Mr James Ferguson in 1926, a monument was placed in the graveyard of St Matthew’s Anglican Church, Grovely, in memory of Mr and Mrs Ferguson, their three infant sons and their two sons who did not return.  Stories have been written about each of the Ferguson brothers who served in the Great War 1914-1919.  This is Norman's story. 

Early life

Norman Abbott Ferguson was born in Brisbane in January 1881, third son of James Ferguson and Eliza Jane (née Abbott).  He attended Brisbane Grammar School from October 1896 till December 1897.  

Enlistment

His younger brothers, Hector, Douglas and Malcolm had already joined the Australian forces and were serving at the Front when Norman Ferguson, who was occupied as a planter in Brisbane, aged 35 years and single, enlisted on 15 December 1916.  With Regimental number 35681, Gunner Ferguson embarked on His Majesty’s Australian Transport Miltiades from Sydney on 2 August 1917, with Field Artillery Brigade, May 1917 Reinforcements.

Service

After further training in England, Gunner Ferguson joined the 13th Field Artillery Brigade in France from 6th February 1918.  He was engaged in battle at Dernancourt, Villers-Bretonneux and Hazebrouck, sometimes acting as a bombardier.  During these difficult months in 1918, he was admitted to hospital suffering the effects of gas fumes and re-admitted with measles.

After discharge from the Military Hospital at Sutton Veny, England in December 1918, Norman Ferguson was granted extended leave for non-military employment whereby he could further his knowledge and experience in the paper and printing trade, before returning to Australia. He attended the premises of J. Gray and Son, 28 Rood Lane, Fenchurch Street, London “with pay and subsistence”  until July 1919.  

Post war

Norman returned to Australia on HMAT Bakara which left England on 24 July 1919 and he disembarked at Sydney on 30 September. Discharge from the AIF at Brisbane was effective from 1 November.

Norman Abbott Ferguson worked as an alluvial miner after his wartime experiences. His address in 1934 was Salamaua, New Guinea.

At age 67 years, Norman Abbott Ferguson died suddenly on 13 February 1949 at Avenel, Muckadilla, Western Queensland.  His body was cremated in Brisbane.


Select Bibliography

The Queenslander, 1 May 1926, page 9
The Brisbane Courier, 7 October 1876; 20 February 1914
Morning Bulletin, Rockhampton, 30 April 1926
• Australian War Memorial Saint Andrew’s Uniting Church, Presbyterian Church Brisbane Annual Reports 1901 – 1925 
The Golden Book, Archives, Brisbane Grammar School
The Courier-Mail, Brisbane, 17 February 1949
Western Star, Roma, 18 February 1949
• National Archives of Australia, Military records World War 1
• Scott Bennett, Pozières The Anzac Story, Scribe Publications, Melbourne, 2011
• Images courtesy of John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.


Compiled by N. E. Adsett, Brisbane.   October 2014.

 

 

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