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SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council and
Baw Baw Shire Council jointly signed
a risk management business plan last
Tuesday (June 28).
This document sets the future direction for the
shared service arrangement that the two organisa-
tions entered into last November.
The business plan stipulates the development
of a common risk management framework, poli-
cy and risk registers for both council.
It also provides for the opportunity to bench-
mark with industry sources and other local coun-
cils to determine those risks, which are common
to local government.
A comprehensive training program will be
rolled out across both organisations.
Baw Baw Shire Council CEO Helen An-
stis said the shared service made good business
“A key justification for shared services in risk
management is the need for both councils to iden-
tify operational efficiencies, without compromis-
ing local autonomy and control,” she said.
“Since commencing this shared arrangement,
it has assisted both councils to identify other op-
portunities for collaborative ventures.”
South Gippsland Shire Council CEO Tim
Tamlin is excited about the arrangement.
“While many local government organisations
are talking about shared services arrangements,
South Gippsland and Baw Baw are simply get-
ting on with business,” he said.
“It is anticipated that sharing this service will
save the two organisations somewhere between
$70,000 and $100,000 per financial year.”
Official: Baw Baw Shire Council’s CEO Helen Anstis and South Gippsland Shire Council’s
CEO Tim Tamlin signed the risk management business plan last week.
Shires join forces
By Tony Moon, Korumburra
AFTER the gruelling Gallipoli
campaign, most Australians
were sent from the Middle East
to Europe and to the battles of
the Western Front.
Sometimes called the worst 24
hours of Australian military history,
the Battle of Fromelles took place in
France in the vicinity of the small vil-
lage of the same name between July 19
and 20, 1916.
The Australian forces involved
took more than 5,500 casualties in a
single night of fighting.
Many of these losses were Victo-
rian, with a considerable number from
Most of the Australians had been
in the front line for only a number of
days and it was the country’s first real
experience, other than trench raids,
of the nature of warfare during World
The 5th Division moved into its at-
tack positions before 5.30pm on July
The 15th Brigade, primarily Vic-
torians under command of Brigadier
Harold ‘Pompey’ Elliot, were on the
right flank, the 4th in the centre and
the 8th on the left flank.
The Germans knew they were
coming. Once the attack commenced,
the 15th Brigade’s 60th and 59th Bat-
talion’s four assault waves on the right
flank, with more of no-man’s land to
cover, came under attack.
They were stopped by heavy ma-
chine gun fire well short of the German
line, having taken heavy casualties.
The 14th Brigade’s 53rd and 54th
Battalions fared better, reaching the
enemy forward trenches and capturing
The 8th Brigade’s 31st and 32nd
Battalions also managed to close the
gap through heavy enemy machine
gun fire from its front and its flanks, in
particular from Delangre Farm.
The assaulting battalions of the 8th
and 14th managed, after difficult fight-
ing, to capture their objectives and
about 1000m of the enemy front line.
The 8th Brigade pushed through
the German lines and up to the Ger-
man strongpoint of Delangre Farm, but
planned secondary objectives proved
to be unrecognisable on the ground.
The remnants dug in and reinforce-
ments attempted to make their way
forward to them.
Despite this situation, incorrect re-
porting of gains from the British 184th
Brigade’s sector led to a request for the
15th Brigade to provide a supporting
attack to the 184th actions around a
feature called the Sugar Loaf.
Tragically, a later cancellation of
this planned attack by the Corps Com-
mander Haking was not received by
the Australians in time.
The 58th, along with some 59th
Battalion men, attacked at around
9pm. The attack failed, with heavy
casualties, the survivors withdrawing
back after dark.
Despite reinforcement by every sol-
dier who could be sent forward, heavy
enemy machine gun fire from around
3am from three locations supported
a counter-attack by the Germans that
split the forward battalion remnants,
and forced the 8th Brigade’s eventual
Enemy counter-attacks had by then
got in behind the Australian withdraw-
al route. Many had to fight their way
back to their start positions. By 9am,
the remnants of the Australian battal-
ions had returned.
Many of the survivors owed their
lives to a communication trench dug
through the night at great cost by the
14th Engineer Company which pro-
vided some cover.
Brigadier Elliott’s despair was to
be matched and probably exceeded in
homes all around Australia, including
The 5th Division lost 178 officers
and 5533 men killed or wounded in just
hours during the Battle of Fromelles.
They also lost 400 as prisoners of war
The 8th Brigade lost 2000; the
14th, 1717; the 15th, 1776; and the
Divisional Engineers, 88. Of note, of
Major Geoffrey McCrae’s 887 strong
60th Battalion, only one Officer and
106 men remained. The 32nd Battal-
ion took 718 casualties. In addition,
each of the 31st, 53rd, 54th and 59th
Battalions lost more than 500 of their
diggers and 20 of their officers
July 19, 1916 proved to be the
worst single day of the war (indeed
both wars) for South Gippsland. The
Korumburra and district lost seven
killed outright and four dying of their
Leongatha lost another nine, and
Wonthaggi, Foster and Mirboo North
all lost similar numbers. Many more
were wounded. Many of the local men
lost their lives in the assault on the
Sugar Loaf feature.
After the battle, the Germans buried
the Allied dead. Many were buried in
mass graves at a location now known
as Pheasant Wood – a location later
lost to history at the end of the war.
After relentless investigatory ef-
forts over many years commencing in
1996, these sites were eventually lo-
cated by Lambis Englezos. His efforts
did not end there.
In 2005, after much lobbying, he
and his supporters eventually gained
the support of the Australian Army, the
United Kingdom based War Graves
Commission, and other authorities to
conduct further investigation into the
In 2007, a geographic survey was
conducted and indications that it was a
mass grave identified. An exhumation
between May and September of that
year uncovered approximately 250 Al-
lied remains, 173 of which were iden-
tified as Australian.
DNA processing continues to iden-
tify these specific remains, and soldiers
identified receive formal recognition
and re-burial at a new Commonwealth
War Grave commissioned for those
found at Pheasant Wood.
As this process continues, for
an increasing number of Australian
families, decades of yearning for an-
swers and searching for loved ones
As part of the centenary of World
War One program, the Korumburra
RSL will be commemorating local los-
es at the Battle of Fromelles on Tues-
day, July 19 at Coleman Park from
The Korumburra Historical Soci-
ety is hosting a special and fascinating
presentation given by Lambis Engl-
ezos on Sunday, September 11 at the
Korumburra Showgrounds Amenities
rooms, commencing at 1.30pm. All are
welcome to attend these events.
Those died at Fromelles and list-
ed on the Korumburra cenotaph are:
Walter Garry, John Phelan, Hugh
Prescott, Samuel Warren, Otto Kiel-
lerup, Murdoch McLean, John Make-
ham, Charles King, Frederick Beard,
George Statham and Thomas Cooper.
So young: Murdoch McLean lost
his life on July 19, 1916 while
serving with the 59th Battalion. He
was just 20. His name is on the Ko-
Fromelles battle scarred region
War casualty: from Korumburra,
John Makeham of the 8th Machine
Gun Coy died of his wounds on
July 20, 1916. He is one of 11 local
soldiers to lose their lives during
The Battle of Fromelles.
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