No.29461 Corporal Shoeing Smith Gilbert McKellar
Gilbert McKellar was born at Cavendish in Victoria in 1876 to Peter McKellar and Margaret McCracken. (Cert.No.1876/21775). They had married in Victoria in 1859, and their children were:
- Thomas James McKellar - born 1861 at Balmoral
- Unnamed female McKellar - born 1861 at Balmoral
- Peter McKellar - born 1862 at Balmoral
- Mary Jane McKellar - born 1863 at Cavendish
- Catherine McKellar - born 1864 at Cavendish
- Robert McKellar - born 1866 at Cavendish; died 1886 at St James
- Edith Amy McKellar - born 1868 at Cavendish
- Emily Selina McKellar - born 1869 at Cavendish
- Dundas McKellar - born 1873 at Cavendish
- Annie McKellar - born 1873 at Cavendish; died 1887 at St James
- John Duncan McKellar - born 1875 at Cavendish
- Gilbert McKellar - born 1876 at Cavendish
- Louis Burns McKellar - born 1878 at Cavendish
- Amy Margaret McKellar - born 1884 at Cavendish
- Sydney Allan McKellar - born 1880 at Cavendish
The McKellar family lived at Balmoral in western Victoria (west of the Grampians) between 1859 and 1862. They then relocated further south to Cavendish around 1863, where the rest of their children were born.
After leaving school, Gilbert McKellar took up work as a blacksmith, and between 1903 and 1906 he worked in the Donnybrook area, north of Melbourne.
He then met Catherine Ann Foot and they married in 1909. Later that year they moved to Geelong, where their first child Mary McKellar was born. (Cert.No.27648/1909).
The family then moved to Lara Lake around 1910, and Gilbert established a business locally, as a fruiterer and tobacconist, and he continued this until about 1937. Their three other children were all born at Lara Lake. They were:
- Catherine Grace McKellar - born 1911 (Cert.No.12789/1911)
- Gilbert Thomas McKellar - born 1913 (Cert.No.13999/1913)
- Amy Margaret McKellar - born 1915 (Cert.No.5124/1915)
It was not long after Amy's birth in 1915 that Gilbert McKellar decided to enlisted in the A.I.F.War Service
At the age of 41 years, Gilbert McKellar left his young family behind, and swore his oath of enlistment at Melbourne on 10 December 1915. After completing his initial training, he went to the Maribyrnong Camp in Melbourne between 11 January 1916 and 4 September 1916, where he was employed as a Farrier.
On 2 July 1916, their only son, Gilbert Thomas McKellar died in the Geelong Hospital. He was just 3 years and 3 months old.
Geelong Advertiser, 3 July 1916, p.1.
Not long after his son's funeral, Gilbert McKellar was appointed as a Corporal Shoeing Smith with the 118th Howitzer Battery, on 31 August 1916.
On 4 September 1916, he passed the examination for Corporal Shoeing Smith at the Veterinary Section of the 3rd Military District in Melbourne.
Corporal Shoeing Smith Gilbert McKellar embarked at Melbourne per H.M.A.T. A60 Aeneas with the 118th Australian (Howitzer) Battery, on 2 October 1916. The embarkation can be seen here. They were part of the 4th Divisional Artillery Column (4DAC). A photo of some of the men posing at the dockside can be seen here.
After a voyage of six weeks, they disembarked at Plymouth on 19 November 1916, and went into a training camp.
On 8 January 1917, Corporal McKellar sailed to France from the port of Folkstone, per Princess Henrietta, and was taken on strength with the 3rd Australian Division Artillery Details (3rd D.A. Details).
He remained with them until 10 March 1917, when he was taken on strength with the 3rd Division Ammunition Column (D.A.C.), before relocating to the 1st ANZAC Salvage Corps "P.B."* at the Australian General Base Depot (A.G.B.D.) at Rouelles.
On 20 May 1917, Corporal McKellar faced a Medical Board and was assessed as Fit for “A” Class. Four days later, on 24 May 1917, he was taken on strength with the 3rd Division Ammunition Column, in the field.
Two months later, on 2 July 1917 Corporal McKellar joined the School of Farriery, as an instructor. He remained with them until 1 November 1917, when he reported to Hospital as being sick. He was treated by the 24th Field Ambulance, the 53rd Casualty Clearance Station, and the A.G.B.D. Hospital at Havre. A Medical Board then classified him as P.B., due to a deformity of the toe. The next step was evacuation back to England on 2 December 1917. His war was over, and he marched in to No.2. Command Depot (C.D.) at Weymouth, England, suffering with Hallux Vulgus (a bunion on the foot).
Corporal McKellar then returned to Australia per H.T. Corinthic, embarking on 10 January 1918.
After arriving in Australia on 5 March 1918, he was admitted to the No.11 Australian General Hospital at Caulfield. He was examined by a Medical Board on 29 April 1918, and the finding was that he was to be discharged as permanently Unfit. He was subsequently discharged from the A.I.F. on 15 May 1918.
After returning home, Gilbert and Catherine's fifth child, Winifred Elizabeth McKellar, was born at Lara in late 1918.
According to the Victorian Electoral rolls, the family then remained at Lara until 1937, where Gilbert had resumed his previous occupation as a fruiterer.
In the mid 1930s, Gilbert also began working as a Ranger for the Shire of Corio. A report of him impounding a flock of sheep was printed in the Argus, 24 August 1934, p.3. By the 1940s he was working full time as a Ranger for the Corio Shire.
Gilbert McKellar died at Geelong on 4 May 1945, and was buried at the Geelong Western Public Cemetery.
His wife Catherine Ann McKellar died in September 1970, and was buried with her husband in the Geelong Western Public Cemetery on 1 October 1970.
Medals and Entitlements:
- British War Medal
- Victory Medal
Name on the Werribee Shire Oak Board: “McKELLAR. B.”
Name on the Little River Honour Board: “Farrier B. McKELLAR”
Name “McKellar, B. from Little River” first appeared in the Roll of Honor, Werribee Shire Banner, 11 April 1918, p.1.
*P.B. - Parts Breakdown
Unit War Diary
Pioneer Index 1837-1888 CD
Federation Index 1889-1901 CD
Edwardian Index 1902-1913 CD
Great War Index 1914-1920 CD
Marriage Index 1921-1942