Robert Campbell HAMILTON

Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Lieut 7490 33y6m 21/04/1920 4

Second Lieutenant Robert Campbell Hamilton (1883-1968)


Family background and early life

Robert Campbell Hamilton was born at Newry, Ireland, on 11 August 1883 and came to Queensland in the year 1886.  He began his schooling at Petrie Terrace State School where he obtained third place among scholarship winners at a time when Brisbane Grammar School offered a limited number of scholarships.  In February 1897, he took up this scholarship which was later extended to December 1901 when he completed the Senior Examination with passes in English, French, Latin, Greek, History of Europe, Ancient History, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry and Mechanics.

One of the first five to graduate from University of Queensland

He succeeded in gaining a university education by part-time study.  He completed his first year arts as an external student of the Melbourne University in 1910 and  matriculated for the Faculty of Arts at the University of Queensland in March 1911.  He was amongst the first five students of the University of Queensland to graduate.  All five (two women and three men) had started their degrees in other universities – all Bachelors of Arts.  The 1913 graduation ceremony was held in the Central Technical College in the precinct of the then University grounds of Old Government House in the city.

Robert Campbell Hamilton was appointed Acting Principal of Warwick Technical College and High School from July 1914 to 1916.


He enlisted for service abroad in the AIF on 9 February 1917 at the age of 33 years, 6 months. His mother, Maria Hamilton of Arran Villa, Enoggera Terrace, Redhill was his next of kin.

Attached to 25th Reinforcements of 9th Infantry Battalion, Private Hamilton, service number 7490, embarked from Sydney on board HMAT A20 Honorata on 14 June 1917.

An interesting note in a Warwick newspaper shortly after Private Hamilton’s departure mentions a letter he had written to his friend in Warwick, “in which he states that he had a good time at Durban.  In Capetown he went out to see Groote Schuur, Cecil Rhodes’ famous home. There are exceedingly pretty views in the vicinity.  Private Hamilton added that he felt in splendid fettle.”

Service in France

 In England he was promoted Lance Corporal and attended a course of instruction at an Officers’ Training School, Tidworth. At his own request, however, he reverted to the ranks.

In February 1918 he was transferred to the 52nd Battalion for service at the Front.  He was engaged in trench warfare in France till 5 April when he suffered a gunshot wound to the left hand rendering him unfit for further active service.  He was transferred to hospital in Southern England.  It was at this time that Chaplain Merrington, based at Tidworth, the main military centre for many British field units and the AIF, visited Private Hamilton.  

In his Memoirs, Rev E. N. Merrington refers to his call at Hurdcott where he saw “one of my St Andrew’s young men, R. C. Hamilton”.  After hospital treatment R. C. Hamilton entered the School for Education Officers at Cambridge. He was appointed 2nd Lieutenant, Education Officer, 15th Battalion in France in November 1918.


By way of non-military employment in England after the war, arrangements were made by the Board of Education, London, for Lieutenant Robert Campbell Hamilton to tour Technical Colleges and Secondary Schools in the United Kingdom from 3 May to 3 September 1919.  He was paid 21 shillings ($2.10) a day plus 6 shillings (60 cents) a day ‘subsistence allowance’. He returned to Australia per HT Nestor, and his AIF appointment was terminated in January 1920.

Principal of Warwick High School

He returned to Warwick High School as Principal, the position to which he had been appointed early in his career.

Mr R. C. Hamilton BA retired as Principal, Warwick State High and Intermediate School in December 1948.  The school magazine referred to his splendid record and that he had “guided the destinies of the school for 34 years. He also served as a University of Queensland Senator from 1944 to 1949.


Robert Campbell Hamilton died in Sydney 22 March 1968, aged 84 years.

Select Bibliography
• Brisbane Grammar School Archives, The Golden Book
• The Brisbane Courier, 13 December 1901
• Memoirs, Rev Dr Ernest Merrington, 1948
• Warwick Examiner and Times, 5 September 1917
• Archives of Australia, military records
• Queensland State Archives, teaching appointments
• The Condaminian, December 1948
• Queensland Times, 28 December 1948
• Contact, University of Queensland, 2013
• The Ryerson Index
• Sydney Morning Herald, 26 March 1968
• Warwick State High School: a history 1912 – 2012, compiled by Leisa Betts et al, 2012     

Compiled by Noel E. Adsett, September 2014



SLQ Historypin – Linking our digital stories to the world.

The Lives, Links and Legacy Stories are being shared through the State Library of Queenland's QANZAC 100: Memories for a New Generation Historypin Hub. Visit this site:

Know anything about this person or want to contribute more information?

Please contact us at