Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Article

An amazing son of Tasmania …

Major-General Sir John Gellibrand

Major-General Sir John Gellibrand was an amazing son of Tasmania. He was what made this State and nation successful and would be one of the greatest Tasmanian heroes of the Great War. He was outspoken, loved Tasmania and was a man of high moral character.

Having served in two wars, Gellibrand, as a man of compassion saw the horrors of violent conflict. He certainly was an individual. During World War One he often dressed as a private which irked his fellow officers.

He also looked beyond the time when hostilities ceased.  The end of war does not stop in the minds of those who served and its effect continues with the families who were left behind because their men folk paid the supreme sacrifice.  In the days before government assistance, Gellibrand came to the fore to give support to the bereaved families of Tasmania.  His efforts soon spread to the whole of Australia. This is his story.

Gellibrand was born in the rural community of Ouse in Tasmania on 5th December 1872 on a property called Lientwarden. The family consisted of six children of which John was the third. His grandfather Joseph Tice, lawyer (1786-1837), had a distinguished political career being the first ever Attorney-General of colonial Tasmania, during Governor George Arthur’s administration (1825-1836). Joseph had a strong association with John Batman who of course founded Melbourne and was one of his staunchest supporters. He made three trips to the Batman settlement, but unfortunately lost himself it would appear in the Otway Rangers in February 1837.

Joseph Tice once owned Derwent Park.  The house now standing was built in the 1860s with the original, owned by Joseph and built by Thomas Wells, was destroyed by fire. In 2018 it badly needs repairing.

Joseph Tice Gellibrand’s home, Derwent Park. Reg Watson Photo.

 

Plaque at Derwent Park.

Interestingly enough close by at Hamilton, in 1860 another great child of Tasmania was born, this time being a daughter of Tasmania….Sister Elizabeth Orr.  The area produced greats. Her career was amazing.  I was delighted some years to unveil a plaque together with Hobart City Council Alderman, Helen Burnett to Sister Orr on an annual Boer War Commemorative Day, besides having her name and career added to the Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women.

Sister Orr plaque,  Boer War Memorial. Domain. Pic: Reg Watson

Joseph’s father was William Gellibrand who died in 1824 and his grave is found still at South Arm. His first grant was at Wedge Bay, Tasman Peninsular, but when Governor Arthur founded Port Arthur, William gave up the grant and was given another at South Arm.

William Gellibrand’s grave South Arm. Pic: Reg Watson

Sir John’s father, Thomas Lloyd, was a Member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly and was captain in the Third Rifles Southern Tasmanian Volunteers. His mother was Isabella nee Brown. Young John (Jack) left his isle home and attended school (Aldeburg) in Suffolk England and toured Europe. In 1883 he moved with the family to Germany afterwards briefly returning to Tasmania He then returned and completed his early education in 1889 at Kings School Canterbury, visiting Frankfurt in 1891.

He then entered the military academy Sandhurst wishing to seek a career in the British army. He remained “a gentleman cadet” rather than becoming an officer. He became a great sportsman; cycling, shooting, tennis, playing billiards, attending the theatre and music halls. He graduated at the top of his class in 1893. It was during a dance that he met his future wife, Elizabeth (Elsie) Helena Bruel (1869-1949). They were married at All Saints Church, Ilkley West Riding of Yorkshire. Elizabeth was German whose father moved to England to open an antique shop. After marriage on the 27th  July 1894 (others state 29th July) , Gellibrand as part of the 1st Battalion and as a 2nd Lieutenant was sent to Ireland.  He also took to writing, submitting work to various military magazines. One of their main concerns of married life was continual financial strain; he had a small legacy from his late father, but this proved to be inadequate.  In the end, as was quite common for military personal at that time he had to borrow against his future pay.

On the 24th April 1895 he was promoted to full lieutenant, becoming an adjutant of the 2nd Battalion South Lancashire Regiment.

With the coming of the Boer War, Gellibrand was about to put all his army experience into practice. The war had not been going well for Great Britain and there was criticism of the military leadership. Gellibrand was with the South Lancashire, but hearing that his fellow Tasmanians were to send troops to the war he hoped to be offered the command, but that went instead to Captain Cyril Cameron of Tasmania.

A telegram was sent from London requesting that the Governor of Tasmania nominate Lt Gellibrand.  The Tasmanian Government replied in part “Referring the offer made by Mr Gellibrand to join the Tasmanian Contingent on service in South Africa, I have the honour to inform you that the Government regrets it has not been possible to accept the offer. This arose there being many volunteers for service who were already in the Defence Force and residents in the Colony. To these of course we had to extend the preference otherwise the Government would most gladly availed themselves of Mr Gellibrand’s services.” Signed by the Premier of Tasmania.

He left for South Africa 25th January 1900 and operations in South Africa for Gellibrand began in February 1900 when he commanded a company assisting the relief of Ladysmith, then under siege from the Boers. He saw a great deal of action.  Ladysmith was eventually relieved, but Gellibrand contracted the dreaded enteric fever and went into a coma.  His recovery took some months and it was decided by the authorities that he should return to England. He did so, joined by Elsie who had travelled to Durban South Africa.  Recovering sufficiently he was transferred as captain to the 3rd Battalion Manchester Regiment in Aldershot.  After 19 months of home service he sailed to the island of St Helena where he was in charge of guarding 6000 Boer prisoners. He would not return to Tasmania until 1912 after serving time on staff at Camberley College and then later he accepted the position of Deputy Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General to Ceylon. He also served in India.  Before his four year term was over he was gazetted out of the army on retired pay. On the 27th April 1912 he returned ‘home’ to Tasmania and became a farmer by working an orchard at Risdon. Oddly enough, I live next door to the farm Gellibrand once had.

When war was declared in 1914, Gellibrand offered his vast experience and was given the command of the 6th Military District Tasmania as Major. He was there at the Gallipoli 25th April 1915 landing at Anzac Cove and immediately got involved with organising the beach landings, distribution of supplies and bolstering the morale of the men. He had embarked 21st October 1914 on HMAT Orvieto A3 from Melbourne. His work, however, was not appreciated by Major General William Bridges with whom he clashed and who dismissed him from that role. He then was transferred to the 2nd Division and appeared to have got on well with his new divisional commander, Major General Gordon Legge.

Gellibrand was wounded twice at Gallipoli and was taken aboard the hospital ship Gascon. After recovering, he returned to Anzac Cove, but soon requested a transfer to Egypt where he was sent.  Within a short period of time he was travelling back to Gallipoli and while doing so his ship was torpedoed.  He did finally arrive intact and was put into administration. Gellibrand suffered another setback when he experienced a bad bout of typhoid similar what he had experienced in South Africa with enteric fever.

For his services he was awarded the DSO (Distinguished Service Order) and promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.  On 4 December 1915, Gellibrand was given command of the 12th Battalion, the 1st Division’s Tasmanian battalion, then resting on Lemnos. He did not return to Gallipoli.  The battalion sailed to Egypt on 6 January 1916.

Despite his insistence on wearing the uniform of a private rather than a senior officer (Sunday Examiner newspaper Oct 26 2014) Gellibrand received further promotion to full Colonel and was given the command of the 6th Brigade.

The 6th Brigade sailed for the Western Front on 18 March 1916 and entered the line there on 10 April. On 31 May, Gellibrand was wounded by a German shell that landed close to his headquarters and was evacuated to England, returning on 28 June. The brigade fought at Pozieres, where it performed well in the attack on 4 August 1916.  Later he became ill once again with a severe bout of influenza.

Until March 1917 he was commander of the 2nd Division. The attack with which he directed against Malt Trench failed and as a result, General William Birdwood, the commander of the Anzac forces, lost confidence in him. The 6th Brigade was nonetheless thrown into the attack against the Hindenburg Line and despite many disasters Gellibrand was instrumental in saving the day. He was awarded a bar to his DSO. Birdwood granted Gellibrand’s request that he be relieved of command and from there he spent some time in England again in administration work, which was so appreciated that he was awarded the Companion of the Order of the Bath. (CB)

In September this year General Pompey Elliot planned the merge various battalions including the 37th, 59th and 60th battalion to which the men of the 37th refused.  Elliot was furious threatening to shoot one in ten of the mutineers, forgetting conveniently that Australian law would not allow for executions in such matters. Monash and Gellibrand met with representatives of the 37th and who were given a temporary reprieve. Elliott was disgusted.  What Gellibrand said of the affair, I am not sure, but I would believe he would be sympathetic to the men. Monash said the meeting with the men was “a thing unprecedented”.

Later that month 29th September Monash and Gellibrand were to clash repeatedly with Monash berating Gellibrand for simply not doing better. Monash said of him, (Gellibrand) “is more of a philosopher and student than a man of action, with a tendency to uncertainly”. This was during an attack on the Hindenburg trenches, a day of intense fighting which including hand to hand. The weather was foul with heavy rain.  It was hoped that the Australians and the Americans were to push the Germans from the trenches. Monash wanted Gellibrand to attack after a heavy artillery barrage, but Gellibrand stated that it was the wrong action given the German positions and that a flank attack would be better. Gellibrand did attack after Monash confessed that Gellibrand was right.  By October 1st his 10th and 11th brigades captured Joncourt on the edge of the Beaurevoir Line.

Gellibrand was the type of general who checked the front himself before an attack, something which Monash did only once during the war.

In November 1917 he returned to the Western Front and on 1 June 1918 he was promoted to Major General, replacing Major General Monash, who was in command of the 3rd Division. Birdwood with reservations gave Gellibrand the 3rd Division on the advice of Major-General Craig White over the head of Pompey Elliot.

Gellibrand also clashed with Sir Walter Ramsay McNicoll (later Brigadier) who complained to Monash that Gellibrand was bombastic and overbearing. Gellibrand in turn charged that McNicoll’s 10th Brigade was slack and undisciplined. Monash was the meat in the sandwich and tried to bring peace between the two quarrelling commanders. Gellibrand had little time for McNicoll with the latter endeavouring to keep out of his way.

On August 9 misfortune had dogged the 10th Brigade with the six tanks accompanying them in the attack manoeuvring in poor formation. Gellibrand blamed the situation directly at McNicoll charging that he asked for instructions rather than taking action himself. He said of McNicoll to Monash that he had the “incapacity of any except set-pieces”.

Of this period, author Roland Perry writes of Gellibrand’s “bullying and blustering” (P.155 Monash and Chauval)

Gellibrand once said, that a soldier, “should say what he believe to be true, then he will make an officer;  if he says what he thinks his commander would like to him to say; he’s done”. One can understand with this statement his independence of thought and his independence of action, which obviously would not go down well with his superiors.

Regarding his leadership at the battle of the Somme, historian Bean wrote of Gellibrand, “That unassuming commander who dressed like an ordinary Digger was in the opinion of some who knew him the brightest intellect in the Australian Imperial Force. One of those officers whose bravery was conspicuous even according to the standards by which gallantry was judged in the early days of Anzac”.

For Gellibrand it was difficult to replace Monash who had been in charge for two years. He had disagreements with other generals over tactics and troops positions.  He and Monash were to clash on plans of attack, but because of Monash’s seniority Gellibrand was over ruled. These clashes were described as “fiery”. However, his service was recognised and later was created a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in June 1919. He was also appointed an Officer of the Legion d’ Honeur 4th class by the French, besides the Croix de Guerre. He had also been awarded the US Distinguished Service Order. By then of course, World War One had ended.

In his biography of Monash & Chauval, author Roland Perry writes, concerning this relationship, (1) “he (Gellibrand) was often prickly to those above and below him in rank. He also had some prejudices against Monash, which he expressed in Egypt when there were rumoured doubts about Monash’s German allegiances”.

Author Grantlee Kieza states on page 557 (Monash) that early in 1919 elements of the 3rd Division artillery mutinied and appears to imply that it could have been Gellibrand’s fault with Kieza writing, “Monash tells Gellibrand to remember that the war is over and to lighten up on the men”.

On June 9th 1919 the converted German troopship Kaiser docked at Freemantle.  There he disembarked, travelling by train to Melbourne.  He was now Sir John Gellibrand when on the 2nd May Gellibrand noted in his diary, “had the honour of being received by the King for an hour”.  From there it was to Bruny Island where he had to spend a week in quarantine, then home.  He was received with great honour by the Hobart community and it was not until a fortnight later he returned to his orchard at Risdon.

The war had physically taken its toll on Gellibrand and he suffered badly from lumbago and sciatica. For a brief time of twelve months he became Tasmania’s Public Service Commissioner in late 1919.  This position proved difficult for him, he clashing with his political masters.  In the end he resigned and later went to Melbourne to take up the position of Victoria’s Police Commissioner with his family accompanying him. The Police Journal reported (March 1 1920 P.17) that Gellibrand came as “an able administrator and he is held in high esteem for his fine personal qualities”.

While Commissioner, Gellibrand supported the interchange of detectives between States and he said he “would support officers being sent abroad to study Continental police methods”. (Police Journal (Feb 1922. P.15.) His time as Victorian Police Commissioner was even more difficult than the Tasmanian Public Service Commissioner. His Association in the former capacity was not a happy one and he resigned his position 2nd Feb 1922. He said in his resignation, “The difficulties of the official position render it impossible for me to give the necessary attention to private affairs of considerable urgency.”

In his capacity of Commissioner he had the opportunity to write a reference for his fellow soldier and colleague, Colonel F.R. Chalmers who served with him in Gallipoli, Egypt and France. (21 Jan 1920)

The Police Journal (March 1 1922 P.177) quotes him as saying that he found “the work he had been performing was not of a nature to warrant his continuing it.”

Of his resignation, the Daily Telegraph newspaper (6th Feb 1922) stated it was a “mystery”.  The paper seems to suggest that there had been a problem in appointing commissioners from “outside the police service”. Gellibrand had planned to improve the police service, but it was said there was a “sudden shock” because of the expenses his plans were entailing.  Part of the problem was the backward conditions, such as premises that the police were forced to work in.

After his resignation, on November 2 1923 the Victorian Police went on strike because of their poor pay and harsh treatment.  What followed was a rampage of hoodlums in the streets of Melbourne.  The government appointed Monash to take charge creating his own organisation of 5000 men, separate from the police along military lines to deal with the situation.  Three days later order had returned.

In 1925, the tenth anniversary of Gallipoli, Anzac Day was fully established as a national holiday, the event held in Melbourne which was the national capital at that time.  Pompey Elliott organized it.  Gellibrand marches in civilian clothes as does interestingly enough Monash, leading 6,000 men with an umbrella under his arm.  Both Elliott and Chauvel marched in their general’s uniform.

In the same year, August 8th a function is held by Monash in Iona Victoria to commemorate the Battle of Amiens while Gellibrand holds a similar event in Hobart.

Of this period of his life, a Chris Clark (AWM) reviewing the book, “The Paladin: a Life of Major-General Sir John Gellibrand) in the year 2000, wrote:

His performance as Public Service commissioner in post-war Tasmania was, frankly, dismal, as was his period as chief Commissioner of Police in Victoria.  Although the machinations of politicians played a part in both instances, there was little point to Gellibrand trying to maintain a principled position on the moral high ground.  Being a successful figure in public office means making things work, achieving as much as is possible in the circumstances not simply throwing up one’s hands in disgust and resigning when one’s advice is ignored.  Judged on this standard, Gellibrand showed none of the skill, resourcefulness or determination he had previously mustered on a different field of conflict and he can be fairly criticised as failure.  Even less astute was his time in politics; little wonder the electors of Denison threw him out after a single term.”

A little harsh I feel. Certainly Gellibrand was a man of unmovable principles and would not compromise.  He may have lacked the tack and diplomacy which these positions no doubt demand and I can see how he would be out of place in such positions where there would be back-biting, conspiracies, jealousies and unfounded rumours and criticism. A failure? Perhaps in the eyes of many, but I still see him as a man who never would settle for less than the best and the highest moral character.

I have noticed in history in reference to those men who were successful on the battlefield and leading men in action in how unsuccessful they are in politics or similar offices.  In war, they know their enemy and they are men of action.  In the latter of course, your friend can be your enemy and you may not be aware of it.  Such a situation is alien to men of action. I believe Gellibrand found himself in such a situation.

Returning to Hobart in 1923 with a concern to help the plight of ex servicemen and their families he contacted a number of prominent Hobart’s business and professional people. A meeting held at Hadley’s Hotel, he put to them that they should form a “cobbers club” as he termed it with the motive “A desire to co-operate in promoting welfare of the independent R.S. – of securing for them such measure of support from their comrades and the general public as may suffice to fill the national pledge – and since we are now civilians again for keeps we hope to deserve well of the state by doing what in us lies to further progress in state and commonwealth.”  Thus the Remembrance Club was formed.  The inaugural meeting was held over lunch at the Anzac House, the headquarters of the RSL.  Membership grew as did branches throughout Australia. The Remembrance Club and Gellibrand’s influence inspired those who began the Melbourne Legacy Club.  The new club rekindled the spirit of optimism and national idealism and filled a great need. The Club’s first publicity stated, “to safeguard the interests of soldiers and developing a broad outlook on national problems.” Legacy was born and has been strong ever since.

Captain Bean, war historian, said of Gellibrand: There was a time when some of thought that the best monument to John Gellibrand might be the story of Second Bullecourt.  Now I feel there will be an even better – the record of Legacy”.  Bean has proven to be correct.

Gellibrand in his mature years

Gellibrand’s command at Bullecourt never faulted. Oblivious to the chaos around him, he ordered every spare man, including cooks, grooms and batmen to help collect the wounded and move essential ammunition and supplies to the men in the trenches.

He also became President of the Boy’s Scouts Association in June 1923 and in 1929 he was Southern Chairman of the Red Cross Society and also Patron of the Clarence RSL sub-branch.

In 1924 he was appointed as ‘Inspector’ at the Clarence Council and here he again clashed with his seniors. This happened when another position fell vacant at the Council.  Gellibrand thought the position should be offered to an ex-serviceman, but against his demands, a civilian was appointed, it was said purely because he had better qualifications.  Gellibrand hit the roof and as a result a monster meeting was held in protest, with Gellibrand resigning from the Council in disgust. As a result fresh applicants were called and a returned serviceman was appointed. His time at the Council was short-lived, he proving not suitable to the position. Gellibrand was asked to take up once again his position as Inspector, but he refused. Another return serviceman was appointed to the vacancy of the Clarence Council.

Gellibrand was also part of the executive committee to record Tasmania’s effort both military and civilian during World War I. (Tasmania’s War Record).  Gellibrand wrote the “Introduction” in which he said, in part, “A war record does not aim at complaining or criticising the value of the work done, but is rather an attempt to detail the facts in such a manner as to enable those interested to gain a fair impression of what was done and suffered by the women and men concerned.”

GELLIBRAND IN LATER LIFE

John was father to three children, Elizabeth Joan, Cynthia Lloyd and Thomas Lanson.

The 90th celebrations of Legacy in March 2013 took place at the John the Baptist Church, Ouse, the birthplace of Gellibrand and were attended by two grandchildren, Miriam and John Tice. John lived with his grandparents for two years, when he was seven and eight years of old in central Victoria. John remembers his grandfather as “tallish, although not over six foot.

“By this time of course, he had white hair and was still suffering from his war time wounds and sickness.” said John.

“He was quite strict.  He never hesitated to correct me with pronunciation and grammar. He read hugely and I remember him as a very erudite gentleman”.

John Tice, grandson, who spent twenty five years in the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force also remembers his grandfather as being very neat and tidy, “things had to be ordered.  In essence, however, I remember him as a lovely old fella. He was very gentle, spoke excellent English.  We used to read to each other, many works staring with Kipling, (Jungle Book, Kim, etc) and then moving on to Mark Twain et al.

“When I lived with him and Elsie those many years ago, he was quite frail as was she. He never walked very well, but his mind was as astute as ever,” said John Tice.

Gellibrand entered Federal politics in November 1925, being elected the member for Dension in Tasmania, with his inaugural speech taking place at the Hobart Town Hall.  His political efforts were backed by the Chamber of Commerce and the Tasmanian Shipping Committee. It was at the time of the British Seamen’s strike which he attacked and came out strongly against Communism and also for Tasmania when he stated, “The Federal Government has not treated Tasmania well” (nothing has changed) and he added he “would fight for Tasmania.” Acting as his own campaign manager, he was defeated in the 1928 election, and again in 1929. After that he returned to farming in Tasmania running a property named “Garth” near Smithton which he bought from the Australian Mutual Provident Society (AMP) of which he was director. During this time he was often asked by the Federal Government to comment and recommend procedures for the nation’s defence.

On the 27th March 1937 he and Elsie left Tasmania, selling Risdon and Garth and went to Victoria to be near his son. He brought the property Balaclava at Morrindindi near Yea.

Controversy was to follow him in 1936 after he accepted an invitation from the RSL to lead the Melbourne ANZAC March. He would do so as a civilian and not in uniform.  Major-General Sir Brudenell White refused to march as a consequence and opposition came from the distinguished figure of General Sir Harry Chavuel.

The years began to take a toll on Gellibrand.  On Anzac Day he became depressed and when The Mercury newspaper wrote an article on Monash after his death, the many condolences did not carry Gellibrand’s name. On the 3rd June 1945 death came to him brought on by a mild cerebral hemorrhage.  After a short private service at Balaclava where he had died, he was buried at the Yea Cemetery, Victoria.  Lady Gellibrand died 13th August 1949 in Hobart.  They had three children, Cynthia who did not marry (1901-1994), Captain Thomas of the AIF (1908-1981) and Joan, wife of Sir William Battershell.

There was a memorial service to him at St. John’s Church, New Town and his name was given to the House for War Veterans. He always marched in the ANZAC parades.

He had written foreword to a number of books which include “To the Fighting Soldier” by W.A.S. Dunlop in 1939 which had subsequent editions.

My opinion of Major General Sir John Gellibrand is this: To me, he was a hero.  There is no doubt he was a complex man and would not suffer fools easily. He was of high moral character and highly principled. We know that he was compassionate and as his grandson stated, “strict”. I am not sure whether we are producing sons of Tasmania like Gellibrand anymore.  Perhaps we are; I certainly hope so. In today’s terms, he would not be ‘politically correct’ with his out spoke manner, but that was his strength not a fault. He said what he thought, but remained a gentleman of outstanding qualities. Nations and States need men like Gellibrand as they are born leaders and good leaders.

In some ways I equate him with Albert Jacka VC., who too clashed with his superiors and was not afraid to speak and act in the interest of his men. He as well entered political life as Mayor of St. Kilda Council, working hard for the unemployed in his municipality during the depression.  He found it difficult in the political world.

Gellibrand’s property bounded where I live on the East Derwent Highway right through to Sugar Loaf Road.  He lived where the gaol now stands.  I met an old lady once who worked in his house. She said it had a lovely sunken garden and a large water storage area.  They generated their own power and he drove a very large old car.  The property was eventually compulsory acquired by the State Government, after they had planned to build a new gaol in Claremont.  Because of the protests by Cadbury’s they changed their plans and it was built at Risdon. Needless to say nothing remains today of Gellibrand’s house.

On the 7th September 2016 a panel dealing with the history of Risdon Vale was jointly unveiled by Clarence aldermen, Doug Doust and Heather Chong.  Contained on the panel was mention of Gellibrand. The panel is located in Duke Park at Risdon Vale.

He is also contained on the panels at ANZAC PARK, Lindisfarne, Tasmania

The Gellibrand property was purchased by the Collis family until the Government acquired it.

There is a painting of him by James Quinn in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra as there is in the Offices of Legacy, Hobart, where Gellibrand is portrayed with his medals.

Gellibrand Street in Canberra is named after him as is Gellibrand House in New Town, Tasmania.

Gellibrand, as stated, wrote the substantial introduction to Tasmania’s War Record (1914-1918) published by the State Government in 1921. I will quote a little more:  “there is no aspect of national life not is not deeply affected by the tragic years of war and reconstruction. We have lost many lives promised to pay a full part in carrying out the high ideals of the national motto. Many who survived have returned broken in health and prematurely aged and unfit to take their full share in the work of the community. Others have fallen into the error of mistaking cause and effect and returned without realizing the significance of what they took part in.”

A man of understanding.

Rank: Major General
Commands: held 3rd Division (1918–22)
12th Brigade (1917–18)
6th Brigade (1916–17)
12th Battalion (1915–16)

Battles/wars:
Second Boer War

First World War
Gallipoli Campaign
Battle of Pozières
Battle of Arras Bullecourt

Battle of the Hindenburg Line
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (K.C.B.)
Distinguished Service Order & Bar (D.S.O. & Bar)
Mentioned in Despatches seven times (MiD)
Distinguished Service Medal (United States)
Officer of the Legion of Honour (France)
Croix de Guerre (France)

The Second Anlglo-Boer War.

Queen’s South African Medal.Other work: Member of the Australian House of Representatives

  • Interestingly his great aunt, Mary Selina Gellibrand (1832-1908 spinster) is buried at Cornelian Bay with the last resting place of her brother, William (1823-1905 Gellibrand’s great uncle) next to her tombstone. They are related to the Garretts.
  • Book, “Monash”- The Outsider who won a War” – Roland Perry. P.340

Perry wrote a later book, “Monash & Chauvel”.

  • There are number of references to the part Gellibrand played in the Battles of Bullecourt in a new publication, “The Battles of Bullecourt” 1917 by David Coombes, BigSky Publishing.
  • There are now many books on Monash one of the latest being “Monash”by Grantlee Kieza. (ABC Books)
  • Even a later one is “Monash – as a Military Commander” by Peter Pedersen. (Bigsky Publishing)

Papers and correspondence pertaining to the Gellibrand family are with the Tasmanian Archives, Hobart.

Gellibrand with his medals. The medals are on display at Legacy House, Hobart

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. REG WATSON

    January 27, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    These are interesting comments. Your last paragraph is probably true .. something I also had considered.

    Nonetheless his first and foremost concern were those for whom he had responsibility both in civilian and military life.

    I believe his founding of the Remembrance Club (later Legacy) bears this out.

    • Christopher Eastman-Nagle

      January 28, 2019 at 11:19 am

      Reg … high functioning autists are very focused on what they do, almost to the exclusion of all else, which is both a virtue and a vice. The task becomes all consuming, but at the expense of ‘externalities’ that frequently have a bearing on the result .. like the agendas of other interested parties ..

      Guys like Gellibrand are great as long as everyone else is on the same page, ie his page. This would be ideal in situations where he was dealing with people who sufficiently admired him and were sufficiently down ‘the chain of command’ to be willing to go along with whatever the general ‘suggested’.

      His charitable works committees would have worked swimmingly …

  2. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    January 26, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    It sounds to me that Gellibrand was probably slightly autistic. I should know …

    Being autistic is great if one is in the middle of a bloody battle and one needs the insensitivity of fearlessness and absolute focus that is unaffected by the surrounding carnage. Such focus allows the observer to perceptively see the emerging patterns and flows of a battle and delivers clarity to respond to them confidently and unhesitatingly. Gellibrand thrives on being in sight of his battleground to get a feel for it that one just can’t get poring over a map in a bunker safely back from the front.

    This predilection costs him battle wounds, but wins him a reputation as a crack front line battlefield commander.

    Autism is good in a situation where it is necessary to show moral courage by resolutely standing up for a bottom-line principle, even if doing so is deeply unpopular. Autists are all but indifferent to the poor opinion of others who do not agree with them.

    Being autistic it not so good when dealing with immediate superiors, peers and subordinates in relationships that require flexibility, listening skills, a degree of empathy and a realistic understanding of what is politically possible in all the circumstances.

    I suspect that Gellibrand was better regarded by people who did not have to deal with him directly.

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