Project blog

Donna, 24 April 2017 · # · Comment

Colonel Robert Sydney Sands M.B.E., V.D.

Colonel Robert Sands (centre) and two permanent German officers captured in New Guinea, Captain von Klevitz and Lieutenant Meyer. 1916
Portrait of Colonel Robert Sands (centre) and two permanent German officers captured in New Guinea, Captain von Klevitz and Lieutenant Meyer, c. 1916.

Robert was the grandson of John Sands who had established the successful Sydney printing company John Sands Pty Ltd in the 1840s. Robert was born in Sydney, educated at King’s School, Parramatta and at All Saints College, Bathurst.

After joining the Scottish Rifles in NSW as a bugler he quickly rose through the ranks. His skill in military matters, combined with a good business head, saw him hold responsible positions. He was Adjutant-quartermaster, and second in command of the 1st Australian Infantry Regiment, under General Holmes; he became A.D.C. to Governor –General Lord Northcote, liaison officer during the visit of the American Fleet and in 1914 was made Commandant of the concentration camps of Australasia. These included Trial Bay Goal and Holsworthy internment camps.

Holsworthy Camp, NSW, The YMCA Hall, the guards' canteen and the theatre, c. 1916
Holsworthy, New South Wales, c. 1916. The YMCA hall and guards’ canteen and the theatre at the German internment camp.

Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1916 it is believed Robert was asked to undertake secret service work that involved travel, to a number of countries, until the end of the war. He was created a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1924.

After the war Robert returned to John Sands Pty Ltd as Managing Director. In 1919 he moved into ‘Marmion’, 9 Silex Road, Mosman. This house had been designed by architect, Edwin Roy Orchard who was responsible for many Arts & Crafts houses in Clifton Gardens and Mosman.

Donna, 24 April 2017 · # · Comment

Silex Road, Mosman....

As always happens in Local Studies when we start researching one thing we, somehow, become distracted by another thing!

While researching an idea for an exhibition I came across a rather surprising piece of local information, then another and then another!

It appears one of the architects who designed the Australian War Memorial lived in Silex Road; the Commandant of the Internment Camps of Australasia during the First World War lived in Silex Road; a British Consul for German New Guinea lived in Silex Road.

 Mosman Local Studies Collection

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Bernard, 2 April 2017 · # · · Comment

Mosman and Artists of the Great War

Visiting Canberra? Those with an interest in Mosman’s connections with WWI are well served by the National Gallery of Australia’s exhibition, Artists of the Great War.

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Darragh Christie, 13 January 2017 · # · · Comment [2]

Darragh Christie, 8 October 2016 · # · · Comment

Viewing the monkey enclosure: perspectives left and right

Photographs of strike-breakers at Taronga Zoo and a digitised image of a letter written by a Mosman mother enquiring about her son, give us a glimpse into Australian society in the early 20th century.

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