Identifying Photos

Thursday, January 11, 2018

A Haunting Photo

It is only a photocopy of the original but is still quite haunting. Baden Powell Barwise poses here with his younger brother Horace. These are two of the sons of Henry William Barwise and Florence Lily (Pearce). Baden was born in Prahran in 29 May 1911 and  was the first child for Henry and Florence. At that time Henry listed his occupation as Timber Carter. 

Baden Powell Barwise and his brother Horace 

WW1 started when Baden was only  a toddler and on 19 January 1917 his father who appears to be going  from job to job, joined the forces to help protect his country and possibly be able to bring in a steady income. Baden was not quite five years old, his brother Horace only a year younger and a third brother Leonard 2 years younger again, and their mother was to find she was again pregnant after their father had left to go overseas to fight for his country.
I wonder if this photo was taken for Henry to carry with him to war? People often did not smile in photos back then but these little fellows look like they are really not happy. 

People seeing off the "Arcanius" in Melbourne. Was Baden here seeing off his father.  

Henry was hospitalised with influenza at one time but within a month he was again back on the fields of France as a driver. 
However on the 9 May 1918 Baden was admitted to the Alfred Hospital suffering with Diphtheria, he had already been ill with for 3 days . He was only a few weeks from his seventh birthday. Two days after being admitted he passed away. His mother had him buried at Coburg Pine Ridge Cemetery on 13 May 1918. She was now at home with three other children, possibly worried if they too would come down and meet the fate of their older brother.  In the hospital admission book there were 15 on the page, 14 had this horrible disease of which Baden and another had died.  

Families were often devastated by the deaths of their children to these now preventable diseases. This is just another example of how mothers having to be strong and carry on alone while their men were at war. 

Two months later his father takes ill and is suffering from neurasthenia, and other Post Traumatic Stress type illnesses. There is no mention of him receiving the news of the loss of a son in his records but  it has been said through the family that he took the news badly. The timing matches with he getting the news and him taken down with these illnesses depression and myalgia. He was also suffering  from Rheumatism which probably made him feel more helpless. 

Baden never lived to meet his other 3 siblings and his father never recovered from his mental health issues. This carried on through all the children, most ending their childhoods in orphanages as their mother spent time in and out of hospital and his father living on the streets, unable to cope with "normal" living, and was eventually found dead in a farm shed where he had died from heart failure. 

  • Birth Certificate #14373 1911
  • Record of Patients admitted into the Queens Memorial Infectious Disease Hospital 
  • Death Certificate # 4513 1918
  • Australia WW1 records, 1914-192

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