Thursday, March 18, 2010


Basic Training - 1916

First posted August 2006. Edited 17 March 2010.

I had long thought that this image dated from grandfather's time in basic training at Enoggera Barracks in 1916 as "Fraser's" refers to Fraser's Paddock, one of the four blocks that made up the Enoggera Army establishment.

Who Les was is a matter for the historians, but he was obviously a 'bit of a lad' in order to be immortalised in such a fashion. The moustache, pipe and beer (XXX, if I recall correctly, because XXXX was not yet being produced - I will check and correct if necessary) suggest someone who was worthy of a well-penned cartoon.

The original is a negative image on a glass plate, and this leads me to believe that it was created in order to be used as a cartoon in a newsletter or maybe some form of card or postcard.

The quote "Could you keep one down" is, of course, from the pen of C.J.Dennis in his work Digger Smith, specifically VII. A Digger's Tale. A similar quote appears in Song of a Sentimental Bloke.

Recent research indicates that the artist "Vasco" is actually Vasco Louriero, son of the Portuguese-Australian artist Arthur Loureiro. Vasco enlisted  in WW1 in May 1916 (under the name Louis VASCO) in Brisbane, so would have trained at Enoggera, as a Sapper in the Engineers, 12th Field Company.

I still cannot completely explain how "Jack" came into possession of this caricature, but it certainly does seem as if it originated in Fraser's Paddock.

He died of disease (Haemorrhagic pachy-meningitis) following a minor spinal wound in  St Albans (Napsbury War Hospital) on 3rd August 1918.

He left little in the way of worldly personal possessions. This image has been lifted from his digitised records at the National Archives of Australia. The items appear to have been placed in the care of the Australian War Memorial.

I have asked the State Library of NSW, which holds some 200+ Vasco drawings, for confirmation of the signature. As of 31 March, I have received no reply.

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