Wyndham History

John Herbert Bolwell (1888-1926)


Placeholder image - Veteran.png

Dublin Core


John Herbert Bolwell (1888-1926)





Wyndham City Libraries





World War One Veterans Item Type Metadata


John Herbert Bolwell

Birth Date



Death Date

Place of Burial

Werribee Cemetery

Biographical Text

John Herbert Bolwell
John Herbert Bolwell was born at Horsham Victoria in 1888 to John Bolwell and Eliza Holland. His parents were farmers in the Horsham district and they had eleven children:

  • William George Bolwell - born at Horsham, 1875
  • Alfred John Bolwell - born at Horsham, 1878
  • Mabel Alice Bolwell - born at Horsham, 1880
  • Winifred May Bolwell - born at Horsham, 1882 – Died at Horsham, 1883
  • Arthur Herbert Bolwell - born at Horsham, 1882 – Died in Horsham, 1883
  • Ester Grace Bolwell - born at Horsham, 1885
  • John Herbert Bolwell - born at Horsham, 1888
  • Ernest Arthur Bolwell - born at Horsham, 1890
  • Lilian Adelaide Bolwell - born at Horsham, 1890
  • Norman James Bolwell - born at Horsham, 1894
  • Myrtle Amy Bolwell - born at Horsham, 1896

Pre War
After leaving school, John Herbert Bolwell took up farming in the Horsham district, before moving to Werribee in 1912. On arrival here, he took up land on Morris Road near “Hopper’s Hill”.*

War Service
After the outbreak of the Great War, John presented himself for enlistment three times, ** and on each occasion he was rejected as being medically unfit. Even though he had been rejected for military service, he was eligible to have his name included in the Roll of Honor, which was included in each edition of the Werribee Shire Banner, published during the Great War.

His name first appeared in the Roll of Honor, Werribee Shire Banner, 5 August 1915, p.3.
The printed Roll of Honor contained a post script “...Some of the above names have failed to pass the medical test.”

He then worked with the Y.M.C.A. at the Military Camp at Altona, *** where he provided assistance to the trainees in residence.

At an Exemption Court hearing, held at Werribee on Friday 20 October 1916, John H. Bolwell appeared. He told the court that he was a farmer on a Closer Settlement Block, and that he was providing partial support to his mother and his sisters. His application for an exemption was refused, but he was subsequently rejected for military service on health grounds.
Werribee Shire Banner, 26 October 1916, p.3.

Post War
John H. Bolwell married Mavis E Stewart at Werribee on 28 July 1917. The newspaper report stated that the groom was the fourth son of Mrs Bolwell of “Vectis East” (near Horsham), and the bride was the eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs J. D. Stewart of Geelong Road, Werribee.
Werribee Shire Banner, 6 September 1917, p.3.

John and his wife Mavis were active members of the local Methodist Church, and they conducted a Sunday School at “Wattle Park” and at Tarneit for some years. They also had four children: Pearlie, Shirley, Jean and Wesley.

Post War
After John’s health deteriorated in 1922, he was forced to give up his farm, and moved in to Werribee. He was appointed as a local representative of the Bendigo Building Society, and he was involved in the creation of a sub-division on Bolwell Street Werribee.

During the winding up of his deceased estate, his final occupation was listed as a “building contractor”.
Werribee Shire Banner, 30 September 1926, p.2.

Medals and Entitlements:

  • Nil

John's name is not recorded on the RSL Werribee Honor Board.

His name first appeared in the Roll of Honor, Werribee Shire Banner, 5 August 1915, p.3.
and then onwards.

* Hopper's Hill was on the railway line between Laverton and Werribee.
Werribee Shire Banner, 4 September 1941, p.2

** Obituary in the Werribee Shire Banner, 23 September 1926, p.10

*** Altona Bay Camp Site "...consisted of 100 acres of land...", and was set up by the Defence Department in late 1915.
The Argus, 10 November 1915, p.9.



Service Record


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 CD


“John Herbert Bolwell (1888-1926),” Wyndham History, accessed September 28, 2023, https://wyndhamhistory.net.au/items/show/2652.


Social Bookmarking