88 YEARS AGO
THE FUNERAL OF SIR JOHN MONASH
Source: ‘Western Mail’ (Perth) October 22nd 1931; page: 22.
The people of Yallourn held the name of Sir John Monash in highest regard. The archives show that because of his vision and determination, as the first full-time Chairman of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria, the town of Yallourn grew, from the most humble beginnings, to become one of the finest ‘garden towns’ in Australian history.
It was not just the people of Yallourn who revered John Monash…
“ …In the 1920s Monash was broadly accepted, not just in Victoria, as the greatest living Australian. The soldiers had to have a representative hero who was a volunteer; he was acceptable to the community as a seemingly unpretentious outsider, not really part of the Establishment. His commanding intellect was sensed as well as his basic honesty and decency. He was one tall poppy who was never cut down.” Source: ABD Volume: 10 1986 (Geoffrey Serle)
John Monash (born 1865) was indeed a durable ‘tall poppy’ and furthermore, it was once written that…
“…John Monash was arguably the greatest ever Australian. Engineer, lawyer, soldier and even pianist of concert standard, Monash was a true leader. As an engineer, he revolutionised construction in Australia by the introduction of reinforced concrete technology. He also revolutionised the generation of electricity. As a soldier, he is considered by many to have been the greatest commander of WWI, whose innovative tactics and careful planning shortened the war and saved thousands of lives” Rolfe Hartley. March 2013.
Bearing in mind Mr Hartley’s quotation, it is little wonder that more than 300,000 people attended Sir John Monash’s funeral and it was claimed to have been the biggest funeral in Australia’s history. It was an extraordinary and fitting farewell to one of Australia’s ‘greatest sons.’
‘Morwell Advertiser’ February 7th 1946; page 5.
Countless Yallourn residents mourned the passing of Sir John; and although it is not precisely known how many people travelled from Yallourn to Melbourne to be part of the funeral throng, the ‘Morwell Advertiser’ (October 16th 1931) reported that …
“Several car loads of Returned Soldiers and also members of the Electricity Commission staff journeyed to Melbourne on Sunday to attend the funeral of the late Sir John Monash.”
While other articles posted on the Virtual Yallourn website deal with the life and achievements of Sir John Monash, this newspaper extract, from 1931, deals specifically with his funeral.
After a short illness, Sir John Monash died on the 8th October 1931; and the following newspaper article tells of the State Funeral held in his honour in Melbourne on October 11th.
To read the full story, click on the 'title' above and then click the pdf link below the photos.