Thursday, 9 February 2017

Looking for Dreadnought Boys?

Are you a descendant?

With 7,500 boys arriving between 1911 and 1939, there are a lot of descendants - probably several hundred thousand people.
Are you one of them?

If you are working on a family history, did you have any luck finding out about your Dreadnought Boy ancestor?

We know that general information is readily available, but it can be difficult to get specific information.

We may be able to help.

How can we help?

Using the comment box, you can put your query to us.
We'll respond as we can.

With information on, at least half of the first wave (those coming before or during the First World War), and on 5,600 of those who came later, we could have something useful.


There many stories available, both among our records and on other websites we know about.

75 comments:

  1. Hello, love your blogspot. I am researching a family tree and have two first cousins (3Xremoved) who came to Australia under the Dreadnought Scheme in 1922. Leslie Edward Southard Barnard and his brother John Claude Southard Barnard. I found out recently from Leslie's granddaughter, who is also interested in their stay in Australia, that their mother wanted them home so they returned to the UK in 1931. Their travel details are:
    Passenger Lists leaving UK 1890-1960
    1797: Leslie Edward Barnard, age 15, Occ: farming
    1798: John Claude S Barnard, age 17, Occ: farming
    Last address in the United Kingdom: C/O Capt Barnard, 54 Radnor Park Road Folkestone, profession:
    Departed: 25th January 1922 from London,
    Last country of permanent residence: England: Intended country of permanent residence: Australia
    Ship name BALLARAT; Number of passengers 1115

    UK incoming passenger list
    Leslie Barnard, age 25, farm labourer;
    John C Barnard, age 27. farm labourer;
    Proposed Address in UK: 54 Radnor Park Road Folkestone
    Port of Departure: Brisbane, Australia
    Arrival Date: 8 Jul 1931
    Port of Arrival: Hull, England
    Ports of Voyage: Brisbane
    Ship Name: Jervis Bay
    Shipping line: Aberdeen and Commonwealth Line
    Official Number: 150187

    I would be delighted if you could provide any details at all of their stay in Australia. Regards Helen Dawson

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    Replies
    1. The 2 Barnard boys came out as Dreadnought Boys in 1922 as you said. They arrived in Sydney on the SS Ballarat on 17 March with 51 other Boys. Both boys were immediately sent to the Government Training Farm at Scheyville, near Windsor west of Sydney. They would have been there for about 3 months, while developing their farm skills.
      That's all the available records reveal - unfortunately, there is no information as to where they were sent for work after their farm training.

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  2. Hello,
    I am looking for information on my grandfather Charles Martin Redgrave (DOB 09/07/1911) who arrived under the dreadnaught scheme in 1928, arriving on the Beltana 8th April 1928 to Freemantle (we think).
    We have no record of him until he married my grandmother in 1939 in Grafton.
    any assistance at to where he may have been for those 11 years would be appreciated.
    Kind regards
    Tracy Willis.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Charles Martin REDGRAVE arrived on the SS Ballarat, in a group of 40 Dreadnought Boys, disembarking in Sydney on 13 June 1928. He was sent directly to Grafton Experiment Farm in northern NSW, for training. He completed his 3 months training on 20 September 1928, according to Farm records. It is thought that he was placed in the Clarence river area and worked in the timber industry, but nothing of that is shown in Dreadnought Records. Local newspapers of the time may show more.

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  3. Ned FLIGHT arrived on the SS Benalla which Departed 9 Feb 1928 as a 15
    Year old Dreadnought Boy, he turned 16 just before the boat came into Fremantle. The SS Benalla Arrived Fremantle 20 March 1928, then Sydney 6 April 1928. We then loose him until he is in Renmark South Australia when he marries Mavis Davidson in 1934. We would like to find out where he went after arriving in Australia. Any information would be wounderfull, Thankyou. Please reply to flight.kathryn@gmail.com

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  4. Hi I'm after information on my wifes grandfather Leslie George Willmore Hirst B. 10 SEP 1908 Mussoorie, Uttaranchal, India D.04 FEB 1990 Yamba, NSW, Australia. He was the son of Lt.Col Frederick Hirst of the Indian Army. His childhood was in England after his father retired and was sent to Australia by his father to make a man of him.
    He travelled to Australia on board the 'Demosthenes' at 16, living in Cornwall as a farmhand. He departed on 25 Jan 1925 and arrived in Sydney on 19 Mar 1925.The next record I have of him is the 1931 electoral roll at Binni Creek, Cowra NSW as a farmhand, then his marriage in 1932 in Carcoar NSW.
    I was after any information of what he was doing between 1925 and 1931.
    Thank you.
    regards
    Glen Harry

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    Replies
    1. Les Hirst came on the 'Demosthenes' in a group of 61 Dreadnought Boys. On arrival in Sydney on 19 March 1925 he, with 5 others, was sent to Cowra for 3 months training at the Department of Agriculture Experiment Farm. That's as much as the records show. However, while researching other Dreadnought Boys, we found "the musically talented Les Hirst" briefly mentioned in a story written about two brothers, one of whom later became owner of the farm involved. It appears that after training in 1925, Les Hirst was placed at Mr Jack Scott's dairy farm at Warwick NSW (11.4 km NW of Cowra, on the Lachlan River). Check out the Blog story on John Frith (Wed.31 May 2017) for a picture of Les's boss Jack Scott. Since Binni Creek is only 11 km east of Scott's farm, it's almost certain that Les stayed in the area after leaving that farm around the end of 1926.

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  5. Hello
    After any information you may have on Walter Holmes my grandfather who I was told was a dreadnought boy.
    Thank you
    Michaela

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Walter K Holmes was a Dreadnought Boy. He travelled from England on the 'Demosthenes' with 16 other boys, arriving in Sydney on 16 September 1921. He was immediately sent to Scheyville near Windsor west of Sydney, for farm training which usually went on for three months.The records don't give any information about where he was placed for work.

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  6. Hello
    I am after any information about James William Smith my great grandfather who came to Australia under this scheme from Stevenston in Scotland. I believe he was amongst some of the first to come to Australia. thank you Adrian

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    Replies
    1. James William Smith does not show up in the available records,however that does not close the matter. There is a missing register which would cover the first 400 boys in the scheme. We have obtained some of their names and James Smith may be among the others who came prior to September 1912.

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    2. Thank you - my apologies for my late reply it got lost amongst my emails. How do I go about seeing whether my grandfather is on the list of the names you do have which covers the first 400 boys in the scheme. We know he went to NSW first before coming to Victoria in 1913.

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  7. I am looking for information on my grandfather Thomas Gerald Saunders who arrived in Sydney under the scheme. Not sure of dates. Regards Lea

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    Replies
    1. Thomas Gerald Saunders arrived in Sydney on the Hobsons Bay on 4 May 1922, and was sent to Cowra Dept of Agriculture Apprentice Farm for training.The register has a note which applies to T G Saunders and 10 others-
      "These boys are remaining at Cowra for a further period to complete their training (as per letter 19.7.22)."
      Without the letter it's anyone's guess as to the reason for this, but it means these boys were at the Apprentice Farm until November 1922.

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  8. I'm trying to trace an uncle, Alexander Alfred Tye. He was sent, at age 15, to Australia arriving in Sydney on the SS Hobson's Bay April 10, 1922. He was a 'Dreadnought' boy. I'm interested in where he went immediately after arrival - farm training somewhere.

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    Replies
    1. Alexander Alfred Tye also arrived on the Hobsons Bay on 4 May 1922. He came with 60 other Dreadnought boys and, like the majority of them, was sent to Scheyville for farm training. Nothing more is shown about him in our information.

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  9. John,
    Thanks so much for that info.

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  10. Hi, I am trying to find out if my grandfather came over as part of the Dreadnought scheme. His name was Harold Austin Hilton, Harry Hilton etc, born in Ireland 1905. We are struggling to find anything about his whereabouts prior to 1938 including how he got here... He did not speak about his past at all and passed away in 1956 leaving behind 5 children. Thank you for taking the time to read my comment from Teresa Giuliani

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    Replies
    1. Hullo Teresa, We've not been able to find any record of Harry Hinton among the Dreadnoughts. Being born in 1905 he was too young to have come with the Scheme prior to WW1. If a Dreadnought Boy his trip out would be between 1921 (when the Scheme resumed) and 1926, but he does not show up in that list of names.

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  11. Hi
    I believe my grandfather was a dreadnought boy.. George Edward Taylor (b 28 Sept 1910), left England on board the SS Baradine on 22 April 1929. He went to the Scheyville Training Farm from June -August 1926 - i have the certificate.. but it doesn't say anything about the dreadnought scheme as such.. any information you could provide would be great! thank you! Trish

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    Replies
    1. Yes Trish, your grandfather was Dreadnought Boy. He arrived from UK, one in a group of 40 boys, on the SS Baradine. The boys disembarked in Sydney on 18 June 1926. We have no information about what happened to him after he completed training at Scheyville.

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  12. I'm sorry that my reply of 14 July was not phrased very clearly. We only know some of those 400 boys, but James Smith was not of these few. He may be one of the remainder of the 400. To find him means ploughing through a lot of ship's embarkation rolls between April 1911 and Sept 1912, and then seeing if there is any reference to him as a Dreadnought, or even a farm trainee.

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  13. Hi.

    My father's half-brothers went to Australia in the 1920's. First Reginald and then Fred. They went to Glen Innes Farm. Do you have any more information about them?

    Many thanks.

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  15. Replies
    1. We've not found anything on Reginald Vince. However, Frederick William Vince arrived in Sydney on the "Euripides"on 20 February 1924 with 36 other boys.Four of these boys,including Frederick, were sent to Glen Innes Experiment Farm for farm training.Nothing else was found in our records. The DPI's Glen Innes Agricultural Research and Advisory Station (Mail to: PMB Glen Innes NSW 2370) may have record of Reginald.

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  16. Hi
    My father-in-law came to Australia on the Esperance Bay in March 1939 and was sent to Scheyville. Can you tell me how long he spent there and if possible, the farm he went to on the North Coast.

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  17. Sorry, forgot his name. Dennis Searle

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    Replies
    1. Dennis Searle,age 19, arrived on the "Esperance Bay" on 17 April 1939. He would have had three months at Scheyville before his placement. The address shown for that is 'c/- E.A(or Q).Gordon, Bonville, Coffs Harbour NSW'.

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  18. Hello. I'm wondering if a relative, John Campbell, born Oct 1897 in London, England, was a Dreadnought boy. He was on the April 1911 census in London and then pops up in 1925 in New Zealand, with a confusing backstory from his descendants involving living in Sydney, and sheepshearing in Queensland, before going to NZ. I've found several J Campbells of the correct age on England to Australia passenger lists in 1911-12. One on the Devon, one on the Pakeha, and one on the Rangatira - all listed as labourers. Hope you can help.

    Thanks.
    Alec

    ReplyDelete
  19. Of course, he could have travelled to Australia much later - I have no record of him between 1911 in London and 1925 in New Zealand. So he could have been on one of many ships over that period. It is possible his fare was paid for by a relative, but equally possible that his passage was assisted.

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    Replies
    1. I should have said John aka Jack.

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    2. John / Jack Campbell’s age means that, as a Dreadnought Boy, he would have arrived from 1911 to 1915. His name is not among the 786 names we have, for this period. However, there are just over 1,000 which we don’t yet have. The following information from records may be of use:
      • The Devon was not used for DB shipments.
      • The Pakeha arrivals were –
      1. October 31, 1911 -12 boys(names not yet identified).
      2. April 25, 1912 – 19 boys (names not yet identified). Note, the 2 Campbell children travelling with their mother, would not be DBs.
      3. October 5, 1912 – 4 boys (names not yet identified).
      • The Rangatira arrivals were –
      1. August 19, 1911 – 36 boys (names not yet identified).
      2. February 23, 1912 -11 boys (names not yet identified).
      3. March 20, 1913 –14 boys(All names known, no Campbell).

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  20. Thanks for your full reply, even if it was a negative! It is useful to know which ships were used/not used though. And I've eliminated a lot of Campbells with families, or Irish/Scots John/Jack Campbells, since he was born in London. I've been given a contact (research office) for the Ballina Family History Group and am waiting for a reply in case they can help. Queensland could be a total red herring though.

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  21. Looking again at the Pakeha arrival Oct 31 1911, I've looked at the whole entry and noticed that there are contract ticket numbers given for each passenger. Families travel on the same ticket number, and sometimes two labourers (with different surnames and noted as travelling without family) had the same contract ticket number. Are these more likely to be Dreadnought boys?

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  22. Another question! Which ships brought in Dreadnought boys between 1911 and 1915, in addition to those you gave in your reply earlier please?

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    Replies
    1. In regard to ticket nos., including the example you gave, they would reflect how passages were paid for but not necessarily who paid.
      With well over 100 shipments in those years, it is beyond the scope of this blog to answer your last question. However if you contact < 7500dbs@gmail.com > with a return email address, some information can be provided.

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  23. Re John (Jack) Brodie dob 13/5/1896. Arrived Melbourne 1913 on "The Irishman" and disembarked in Melbourne. This man is my grandfather and I believed he was a Dreadnought boy. However Sydney Library had a program last year by an expert on Dreadnought Boys and he told me none of them went to Melbourne they all went onto Scheyville. NSW. Can you please confirm this for me. It would just help with this part of the mystery.
    Kind regards, Trisch Brodie

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    Replies
    1. Of the DBs we know about, all came through Sydney. The majority of them went to Scheyville for training. Of the rest, many went direct to farms, others went to various Dept of Agriculture Farms around NSW for their training. Only one DB came out in the 'Irishman' in 1913 - arriving on 25 November 1913, William Macleod went from Sydney to Glen Innes for training.
      John Brodie was on the 'Irishman'on its earlier trip, reaching Melbourne in May 1913. There were no DBs on board, and only families and older adults went on to Sydney. John was listed as'farmer' and 'contracted to land' in Melbourne in the ship's list, as were many other lads. During 1913, the Victorian Govt brought 2280 lads out from UK for farm placement. It is almost certain that John Brodie was one of them.

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  24. Hi
    My grandfather Norman Richardson was born in Newcastle England and was a dreadnought boy. He came in 1924 on the Diogenes. Where did he go.
    Thank you Donna Richardson

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Norman Richardson arrived in Sydney on 1 September 1924 and was immediately sent to Scheyville for 3 months farm training. We have no information about his subsequent farm placement.

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  26. Hi my dad James Robert Wright born in Newcastle on Tyne England arrived in Sydney aboard the Balranald from the UK on the 27th December 1927. I never knew that he was a Drednought Boy until 7 yrs ago when I finally through a friend of mine connected with a cousin of my dad's in England. I still don't know much as to where he was sent etc. My dad passed away when I was only 8 yrs old in 1959 I am still searching for answers. Thank you regards Margaret Gayler.

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    Replies
    1. What we know about James Wright can be found on page 66 of "These Also Came - More Stories of the Dreadnought Boys" 2nd Edition, by Olwen King. The book is available from the Alstonville Plateau Historical Society, either on ebay or by contacting them by email at to arrange purchase.

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  27. My Grandfather, Norman Stephen Hills, was a Dreadnought Boy, b1907 in London, he was still in London in 1922. I believe he came over shortly after, his father John was a Naval Officer. Any assistance appreciated. He may have gone into Queensland as that was were he ended up and married my Grandmother in 1935.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Craig, records show that Norman Stephen Hills was one of 40 Dreadnought Boys aboard the 'Themistocles', when it reached Sydney on 7 August 1923. He and three other boys were sent up to Grafton Experiment Farm for their farm training. (One of those three was Jack Easter - see blogpost for 12 May 2019.) Norman was at the Experiment Farm from 9 August 1923 to 12 February 1924, after which he would have been placed with a farmer in this northern NSW region.
      Norman Hills' War Service record is available on the National Archives Australia website (Item ID 5329245). Page 35 (Application to enlist in the Airforce) shows where Norman has noted that his 20 years experience was made up of 8 years farming, 4 years cane cutting and 8 years forest work.

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  28. My father William Frederick Dover arrived on the Benalla on 28 September 1928. I would like to know where he went from there. He was 16 - born 26 August 1912 in Newcastle-on-Tyne. He married my mother in 1938. His half brother Cecil Roseby arrived in Australia in 1925 or 1926 on the Beltana. I don't know if he was a Dreadnought boy but I am sure my father was. Any info on either would be greatly appreciated.

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    Replies
    1. Yes Irene, William Frederick Dover was a Dreadnought Boy. After disembarking from the 'Benalla', he was sent to Scheyville for his farm training. A coded note indicates that in 1933 he was in Doonside, then a rural area west of Sydney. There is no information about Cecil Roseby.

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  29. My uncle was Henry John Stuart. Born 1903 Portsmouth. He came to Melbourne on the Benalla 29/11/1923 from London. He's 19 at the time. He worked on farms around Casterton and Merino in Western Victoria. I was wondering if he was one of the Dreadnought Boys. My first post ha not shown up so I hope I am not doubling up

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    Replies
    1. Hi Marilyn, we don't have anything about Henry John Stuart. There were no Dreadnought Boys on that trip. It is very likely that he could be one of the lads brought out by the Victorian Government. The Immigration Museum in Melbourne may be able to help you.

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  30. Do you have any records on file for Thomas Gerald Saunders?

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    Replies
    1. Yes we do Gary. Thomas Gerald Saunders arrived in Sydney on the 'Hobsons Bay' on 4 May 1922, travelling with 60 other Boys. He was sent to Cowra Experiment Farm, for training. There is no indication of where he went next.

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  31. My father, Leonard Felber Mare, born 1905, left UK around 1921 and worked on a sheep station in NSW. He never mentioned that he was a DB, but the facts of his early years in Australia are consistent. I would very much appreciate if you could see if my hunch is correct. Many thanks.
    Bill

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    Replies
    1. Your hunch is right Bill, Leonard F Mare was a Dreadnought Boy. Travelling in a group of 60 Boys, he arrived on the 'Euripides' on 21 November 1924. He was one of the only two Boys, from that shipment, to be sent to Wollongbar Experiment Farm for training. There is nothing about his next employment.

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  32. My grandfather John Thomas Barber left the port of London aboard the SS Diogenes on 4th December 1924. He was 17. I have found the passenger list. All the other passengers around his ticket or boarding number were single males aged 15 to 19. I know he came here as part of some kind of "farm boy" scheme and believe he may have been a Dreadnought boy. Are you able to help? Thankyou. Any help is very much appreciated.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, John T Barber was a Dreadnought Boy. He was one of 39 Dreadnought Boys on the SS Diogenes. When he landed on 19 January 1925 he was sent to Scheyville for farm training, which could take up to 3 months. The scheme records don't show where he was sent after his training.

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  33. Hi
    My uncle was sent to Australia as an unaccompanied child after he had committed some misdemeanour in England. This occurred between 1910 and 1930. His surname would have been Walter, Walters or Crane but I am not aware of his first name. Any help you can give me is much appreciated.
    Kind regards
    Kristin Wickens

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    1. Hi Kristin, From what you've described it's unlikely that your uncle was a Dreadnought Boy. They were mostly 15-18 years old and had to apply to join the migration scheme. We've checked all available names and found only 3 of Surname 'Crane' and 5 of surname 'Walters'. They are as follows:
      Leslie Crane in 1924, Eric J Crane in 1928, Kenneth G Crane in 1929, and Edward Walters in 1923, Harold S Walters in 1925 also Percival E Walters and Albert V Walters in 1925, and an Albert Walters in 1928.

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  34. Hello. I'm wondering if you have any extra information on my grandfather, John William Swan ('Jack'). He came to Australia with the Dreadnought Scheme and arrived into Sydney in late 1929 aboard the 'S.S Balranald'. I think he had a short stay at Scheyville Training Farm. He returned to England briefly in 1934 then came back to Australia. I'd be grateful for any further information you can find about him. Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Elizabeth, we can confirm that John William Swan arrived on the 'SS Balranald' on 4 November 1929. (The Trust records show him as "Swan, John Wm. Jas. Mason"). He was shown as being sent to Scheyville. While he could have spent up to 3 months there, it more likely that a farm placement was available sooner than that. There is no information about his placement.

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  35. Thank you for your reply, John - I appreciate it. Are the personal files of each 'Dreadnought Boy' available at National Archives? Is it possible for verified family members to gain access to their father's/grandfather's file?

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    1. ⬆️⬆️
      Forgot to add my name (Elizabeth) to the above reply. Look forward to your response. Thanks. 😃

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    2. Elizabeth, the NAA mainly has information relating to the Dreadnought Scheme and its workings. It has passing references to some boys but does not hold files on individual boys. If the individual boy served in the defence forces, the NAA may have his war service record, many of which have been digitised for on-line access. They often have useful information about his civilian life. The NSW Department of Labour would have had files of some kind on individual boys, between 1911 and 1939, but it is not clear what happened to those files.

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  36. I'm researching Sidney Harvey (spelt Sudney Harvey on the Benalla passenger list March 1927) He was 19 when he arrived I was wondering if he was on the Dreadnought Boys list for that ship. He married Sarah Clapham in 1935 and enlisted in WWII at Mt Isa, Qld. But between his arrival in 1927 and his marriage to Sarah in 1935 is a blank. Any assistance would be appreciated.
    Regards, Sandra

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  37. Hi Sandra, Sidney Harvey certainly was a Dreadnought Boy. He was one of 35 Boys who came on the Benalla. When it reached Sydney on 2 April 1927, Sidney was sent (with 5 other Boys) to Wollongbar Experiment Farm for his farm training. The last address shown for him is - Crystal Creek, Murwillumbah NSW 2484.

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    1. Thank you so much for that information John, he had family ties with the Murwillumbah area for many years with family involvement in sugar cane farming and cutting cane as well as the timber industry around there.

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  38. Are there any boys with the surname Dalton? Great page by the way!

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  39. Yes, there is one! William Dalton arrived in Sydney on 1 April 1929, on the "Beltana". There were 24 Dreadnought Boys on that ship, and 8 of them (including William Dalton) were sent to Scheyville for farm training. One of the lists indicated that he came from Glasgow.

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  40. Hi; delighted to discover your blog. I'm trying to discover information about my great uncle William Harrop (alternatively William Harrup or William George Harrup) who enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy on 21JUL1920. He was a naval cook and served during the Second World War and was discharged in 1946. From 1909 until March 1915 he was at the St Joseph Industrial School in Manchester, England. He was actually born in Birmingham, England in 1899 but his 1922 marriage certificate says born Glasgow 1894. There is a ship's passenger record (albeit with a line through it) for a William Harrop Dreadnought Lad aged 16 bound for Sydney departed London on the "Osterley" on 31JUL1915. Was my great uncle that Dreadnought Boy I wonder? Grateful for any details you have. Thanks! Mike

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  41. Hi Mike, the records are a bit meagre from June 1914 to December 1915 when the Scheme paused for WW1. There are no names in the register for the 559 Boys who (according to the shipments summary) came in that time. William Harrop (or Harrup) was not found elsewhere in the Dreadnought records. The "Mariners and Ships in Australian Waters" website shows that he was not on the "Osterley" when it arrived on 10 Sept. 1915 nor on the "Benalla" which arrived a week later. The strike-through on the embarkation roll usually means a "no-show". The "Orontes" (arr. 15 Nov) and "Athenic" (arr. 18 Dec) were the last two ships with DBs in 1915, but their lists are yet to be transcribed on the above website.

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  42. Thank you for undertaking the investigation. Although it hasn’t come up with a positive result regarding William Harrop, the Dreadnought Lads (and, I understand, Lasses) are a fascinating chapter in the history of migration to Australia.

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  43. Hi, I would like any further information on my late Grandfather who was a Dreadnought Boy. His name was Edward George Prichard born on the 29-7-1912. Thankyou.

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    1. Edward George PRITCHARD arrived in Sydney on SS Benalla on 06/04/1928, with 38 other Dreadnought Boys. He was trained at Scheyville. While there are no details of his 1928 farm placement, there is information that, in 1929, he was working just west of Henty in southern NSW (in Postcode 2658). We understand that, by 1932, Edward Prichard was in the Orange district. He share-farmed with another Dreadnought Boy Jack Clifford, until crops were lost in a locust plague. He became a storeman with GJ Coles, staying with that company until retirement. By 1940 he had moved to Sydney, and in that year married Betty Kirkwood. After his 1942-5 army service he continued with Coles, becoming a manager with them. Edward died in 1985, nearly seventy-three years old.

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  44. Thankyou, he was a lovely man and his wife Betty Prichard is now 100, hopefully 101 this March 🤞

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