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William Stewart CONOCHIE


Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Lieut 977 14/7/1896 20y2m 26/09/16 7/5/1920 2

Sergeant William Stewart Conochie (1890 - 1961)

Conochie Brothers Booklet

The Conochie Family from Victoria

Robert and Agnes Conochie were married in 1860 in Melbourne. Both were of Scottish birth.  Robert Conochie was a draper in the Melbourne suburb of Ivanhoe.  Seven children were born in Victoria before the family moved to Brisbane in about 1903, among them the two boys, William Stewart and Allan Fleming Conochie whose names are on the honour boards at Saint Andrew’s Uniting Church.

Link to Saint Andrew's

The family lived at Woolongabba where Mr Robert Conochie managed a warehouse.  Their mother, Mrs Agnes Conochie died in 1906.  After Mr Robert Conochie’s second marriage in 1908 to Jesse Reid Meikle, Mr and Mrs Conochie moved to live at New Farm.  Their farm at Tingoora, a small town near Wondai in the South Burnett Region also claimed the Conochie family’s interest and time.  They were listed as communicant members of Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in 1921 and 1923.

William Stewart Conochie was born at Fitzroy, Melbourne on 14 July 1890, the second son of Robert Conochie and Agnes Neilson née Anderson.   William was 15 years old when his mother died.  He worked with his father on the farm at Tingoora, William Conochie became a dairy instructor in Longerenong College at Dooen in the Wimmera District of Western Victoria.

Enlistment

At the age of 26 years and 2 months, he enlisted in Melbourne on 25 September 1916 to serve abroad in the Australian Infantry Force (AIF).  A tall single man, he gave as next of kin the name of his father whose address at that time was Tingoora.

Service

W. S. Conochie’s regimental number was 977 and he was appointed to 4th and 5th Mobile Veterinary Sections, 3rd Military District at Maribyrnong.  His unit embarked from Melbourne on board RMS Omrah on 17 January 1917 and arrived at Devonport England on 27 March.

After a short time at the Australian Army Service Corps Training Depot at Parkhouse, Private Conochie moved overseas to the Australian Veterinary Hospital at Calais and was soon promoted to the rank of corporal.

He was reprimanded for disobeying the instruction of a senior officer in January 1918 but a few days later was serving as temporary sergeant for duties with the 4th Field Artillery Brigade.  After a fortnight’s leave in England he was promoted to the rank of sergeant on 1 April 1918.  

In January 1919 Sergeant Conochie was assigned to duties at Sutton Veny Agricultural School and was later engaged in non military employment in England. Leave was also granted for him to take part in an American Irrigation Tour.  His return to Australia via San Francisco was at his own expense on board SS Ventura.  He disembarked at Sydney on 9 March 1920 and his period of enlistment was terminated at Melbourne on 7 May 1920.

Post war

William Conochie returned to Queensland and married Constance Mildred Sharpe, youngest daughter of Mr and Mrs F. R. Sharpe of Ashton Hall, Clayfield on 24 March 1926 at Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.  Rev J. Scott Macdonald officiated and Mr Dalley-Scarlett presided at the organ.  Their home was at Brookland, 365 Sherwood Road, Sherwood and William continued his work as a farmer at Tingoora.

Second world war 

W. S. Conochie presented himself for voluntary service in Brisbane during the Second World War. Then a stud master, he served with the rank of lieutenant in the Citizen Military Forces from 3 November 1941 till 25 September 1942.  His duties in the early part of 1942 involved travel to Toowoomba.

Passing

In 1958 William Conochie moved to Anzac Hostel, Thorn Street, Kangaroo Point.  He died on 26 August 1961, aged 71 years.  He is honoured on a plaque bearing his name at the Queensland Garden of Remembrance at Bridgeman Downs.


References

• National Archives of Australia, military records
• National War Memorial - Unit Histories, Embarkation Rolls
• Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Annual Reports 1920 – 1925, Archives, Saint Andrew’s Uniting Church, Brisbane
• Queensland Register of Births Deaths and Marriages
• Victoria Register of Births Deaths and Marriages
• Australian Electoral Rolls
The Argus, 26 March 1886, page 1
The Brisbane Courier, 24 May 1924, page 22
The Daily Mail, 16 September 1924, page 6
The Queenslander, 3 April 1926, page 6

Compiled by Noel E. Adsett, Brisbane.  March 2016

 

 

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