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Biographical Dictionary - Coorow, Carnamah, Three Springs


Surname

George Morrison MCGOWAN

Born 14 May 1911 in Paisley, Renfrew, Scotland [16]
Son of John and Margaret Morrison MCGOWAN of Gasgow, Lanark, Scotland [17] [18]
Resided in Paisley, Renfrew, Scotland until leaving for Western Australia in 1927 [248: 26-Oct-1927, pages 16-17]
Departed London, England on the steamship Largs Bay and arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia on 13 October 1927 [63]
     He immigrated under a scheme run by the Boy Settlers Department of the Young Australia League [248: 26-Oct-1927, pages 16-17]
     The scheme was run in association with the Western Australian Government to introduce British boys to WA farms [248]
     He was among the first contingent of nine British boys to immigrate under the scheme, with a total of 50 boys to arrive in 1927 [248]
After landing at Fremantle they were taken to the Young Australia League Headquarters at 45 Murray Street in Perth [248: 26-Oct-1927]
     They were welcomed by officials of the League, its Boy Settlers Department and the Hon. M. F. TROY, Minister for Lands [248]
     Spent his first four days in Perth with the parents of a Young Australia League boy "to get a glimpse of Australian home life" [248]
     He then proceeded to Mukinbudin, where he had been billeted to live with and work for farmer Reuben C. LINDAU [248]
By 1933 he was living in Carnamah [19], and for seven years worked as a farmhand for Charles ROBERTSON [5: 27-Jun-1941]
     Resided in a humpy on Charles ROBERTSON's Woodbine Farm on the Carnamah-Perenjori Road in Carnamah [P9]
     Also worked in Carnamah for Roger W. CLARK on Rosebury Row Farm and for John BOWMAN on The Home Farm [5: 27-Jun-1941]
Attended the Carnamah Church of England's New Year Ball held at the Carnamah Hall on Saturday 30 December 1933 [5: 5-Jan-1934]
Member of the Carnamah Golf Club 1934-1937 [5: 17-May-1935, 14-May-1937] [4: 29-Aug-1936]
     He was the winner of the Carnamah Golf Club's Eclectic Competition in 1935 [5: 1-Nov-1935]
      Attended the Carnamah Golf Club's Annual Dance held at the Carnamah Hall on Thursday 24 October 1935 [5: 1-Nov-1935]
     Won the Gents Approach & Putting Competition at the Carnamah Golf Club's Opening Day on Sunday 26 April 1936 [5: 1-May-1936]
Member of the Carnamah Cricket Club in 1934-35, 1935-36 and 1936-37 [5: 30-Nov-1934, 11-Oct-1935, 6-Nov-1936]
     Following the creation of two teams within the Carnamah Cricket Club he played for "Carnamah Reds" in 1935-36 [5: 11-Oct-1935]
     Played for the Club's "Carnamah B" cricket team in 1936-37 and for "Carnamah Blues" in 1937-38 [5: 29-Jan-1937, 24-Dec-1937]
Travelled to and from cricket in Coorow with his team-mates on the back of Charlie OLSEN's truck on 9 February 1936 [5: 14-Feb-1936]
     On their way back to Carnamah the truck hit a bank on the side of the road and they were all thrown off the back of the truck [5]
     Only one of his team-mates was slightly injured, and after repairing the truck they carried on with their journey home [5]
Member of the Carnamah Social Club in 1936 [5: 7-Aug-1936]
     Played for the defeated Carnamah Social Club in badminton against the Carnamah Badminton Club on 5 August 1936 [5: 7-Aug-1936]
He was among those from Carnamah who travelled to Perth in early October 1936 to attend the Royal Show [5: 9-Oct-1936]
     Returned to Carnamah by car as a passenger with local newsagent John A. KENNY on Thursday 15 October 1936 [5: 23-Oct-1936]
Attended the farewell to Josephine M. FITZGERALD at the Carnamah Hotel on Saturday evening 27 March 1937 [5: 2-Apr-1937]
Resided in Carnamah until enlisting in the Australian Army on 11 November 1939 [16]
     He was the first from Carnamah to enlist in the Australian Army for service abroad following the outbreak of war [5: 27-Jun-1941]
     He enlisted to get the chance to see his mother, who was quite alone after his father had died and his sister committed suicide [P9]
     Gave his next of kin as his mother Mrs Margaret Morrison MCGOWAN of 63 Oakfield Avenue in Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland [18]
Sergeant WX934 in the Australian Army's 2/11 Australian Infantry Battalion during the Second World War [16]
At a meeting in November 1940 the Carnamah Cricket Club decided to post him a copy of The North Midland Times each week [5]
     It was remarked in minutes that he was no Bradman, which he knew, but that he was always willing to assist the club [5]
     They deemed him to be one of the keenest members of the Carnamah Cricket Club [5: 20-Nov-1940]
He received letters from Betty J. ROBERTSON, daughter of his late employer, and from her friend Pamela JOHNSON [P9]
Killed in Action on 23 May 1941 in Crete while defending the island against the German invasion [18]
Word of his death reached Carnamah on the morning of Friday 19 June 1941 [5: 27-Jun-1941]
Buried Paravalo, Crete, Greece; memorialised at the Athens Memorial in the Phaleron War Cemetery near Athens in Greece [17]
His name appears on Carnamah's Roll of Honour and on the Carnamah War Memorial [35]


From The North Midland Times newspaper, Friday 27 June 1941:
Obituary - Late Sergeant Geo. McGowan
"The whole district was shocked when the news came through on Friday morning last of the death of Sgt. George McGowan, Carnamah, first young man to enlist for active service abroad. Coming to W.A. from Scotland as one of a number of picked boys chosen by the Y.A.L., he eventually arrived in Carnamah, where after being employed for seven years on Mr. C. Robertson's property he was later employed by R. Clark and J. Bowman. Although of a reserved nature he gradually began to take an active part in the public life of the district, and was an active supporter of the football and cricket clubs. Possessed of a magnificent physique he made an imposing figure in uniform, and we who knew him, feel certain that when the time came he upheld the great tradition of the A.I.F., and also of that country that has given to the empire some of its greatest soldiers. To his sorrowing father and mother in far-away Scotland, we extend our sincerest sympathy at the loss of their only child and to "Big George" we say farewell."


Photograph taken for his pay-book during the Second World War; courtesy of the Australian War Memorial, P02466.254.


Reference:  Carnamah Historical Society & Museum and North Midlands Project, 'George Morrison McGowan' in Biographical Dictionary of Coorow, Carnamah and Three Springs, retrieved 18 December 2017 from www.carnamah.com.au  [ sources ]




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