No.2256 Private William Patrick Black (Blake) Toohey
William Patrick Black Toohey was born at Eden in 1886 to John Andrew Toohey and Sarah Esthe Blake.
Pioneer Index Victoria 1836-1888
When his parents married in 1883, Sarah's surname was slightly different. The marriage was John Toohey, and Sarah Esthe Varey in Victoria, No. 2896/1883.
Marriage Index Victoria 1921-1942 No.7563/1922
It is also recorded as "John Toohey, and Sarah Ester Varney, at Little River, No.2896/1883".
ancestry.com Australia Marriage Index, 1788-1950
After William’s parents married in 1883, they had five children:
- Michael Blake Toohey - born 1883 at Bairnsdale. F. John Toohey, M. Sarah Varney
- John Wallace Blake Toohey - born 1885 at Edenhope. F. John Andrew Toohey, M. Sarah Ester Varney
- William Patrick Black [Blake] Toohey - born 1886 at Edenhope. F. John Andrew Toohey, M. Sarah Esthe Blake [Varney]
- Jas Blake Toohey - born 1889 at Casterton. F. Jno Toohey, M. Sarah Ester Varney
- Louisa Evelyn Toohey - born 1891 at Strathdownie East. F. Jno Toohey, M. Sarah Ester Varney
Sarah Ester Toohey (their mother) died at Coongulmerang (East Gippsland) in 1900, aged 39 years.
Federation Index Victoria 1889-1901
The Electoral roll for 1915 records two of the Toohey brothers living at “Brooklyn”, 20 Eleanor Street, West Footscray.
Mary Elizabeth Toohey, Home duties (Michael’s wife) (nee Elizabeth Mary Condon. M.1912),
Michael Blake Toohey, Labourer. (William’s brother) (born 1883 at Bairnsdale, F. John. M. Sarah Varney) (died 1968 at Footscray, F. John Andrew Toohey, M. Sarah Varney), and
William Patrick Toohey, Labourer [Farm Labourer]
William Toohey enlisted in the A.I.F. at the Melbourne Town Hall on 9 May 1916, and began his military training. That was completed on 22 July 1916 at Castlemaine, and he was appointed as a Private with the 4th Reinforcements for the 59th Battalion.
At the age of 30 years, Private Toohey embarked from Melbourne on 1 August 1916 per HMAT Orsova A67, with the 4th Reinforcements for the 59th Infantry Battalion, and sailed to Plymouth in England, where they continued their training.
Between 9 October 1916 and 16 October 1916, Private Toohey went Absent without Leave. For this crime he was awarded 21 days Field Punishment No.2. * and loss of 21 days pay, by Lt. Col. Jackson of the 15th Training Battalion, at Codford.
On 21 November 1916, he was admitted to the Fovant Military Hospital, suffering with appendicitis. After a week he had recovered and was released from Hospital on 29 November 1916.
After further training, Private Toohey embarked from Folkstone in England per S.S. Princess Henrietta on 6 December 1916, and sailed to France. He was taken strength with the 59th Battalion at Ribemont, on 29 December 1916.
Possibly due to conditions at the front, Private Toohey was admitted to hospital sick with an advanced corneal ulcer ** on 6 March 1917. After three weeks of treatment, he was released from hospital on 28 March 1917, and he marched in to A.D.B.D. at Etaples, on his way back to the front.
On 23 April 1917, he rejoined the 59th Battalion, who were now at resting and training at Mametz.
Early in 1918 Private Toohey found himself in trouble again. Between 1 February 1918 and 9 February 1918 he was Absent without Leave for eight days. He had overstayed his leave in England, and was declared Absent while on Active Service. At a Field General Court Martial held on 22 February 1918, he was found guilty as charged, and was sentenced to 60 days of Field Punishment No.2., and a loss of 81 days' pay.
After he returned to duty, he attended the Australian Corps Gas School, “In the Field”, between 1 June 15 June 1918.
On 8 August 1918, the 59th Battalion were engaged in heavy fighting around Villers-Bretonneux. During this action Private Toohey was wounded in action, and received a gunshot wound to his right arm.
Four days later, on 12 August 1918, he was invalided back to England, and admitted to the 1st Southern General Hospital Stourbridge. On 28 August 1918 he was released from Hospital on leave, and on 6 November 1918 sailed back to France.
While he was en-route, the Armistice was declared, on 11 November 1918. Then, one week later, on 19 November 1918, he re-joined the 59th Battalion at Huppy in France.
On 24 July 1919, Private Toohey embarked from England per H.T. Bakara for his return to Australia.
After a stopover in South Africa, he embarked at Durban per Bahia Castello on 4 September 1919, to continue his voyage home.
On 27 September 1919, he disembarked at Melbourne, and his final discharge date from the A.I.F. was 28 February 1920.
On 23 February 1921, William Patrick Blake Toohey made an application under the Discharged Soldiers Settlement Act for a holding to grow wheat and conduct mixed farming. That request was amended to an irrigation block in June 1921. He stated that he had 10 years previous farming experience, was single, and he had £120 available in cash
He was still living at 20 Eleanor Street West Footscray, but he gave his postal address as c/- Mrs M. Wall of Werribee.
On 21 August 1922, William was granted allotment No.5. in Section K, of the Parish of Deutgam (K Road, Werribee). The size was 11 acres and 1 rood, and it was valued at £495.
When he occupied it his assets were one cow, one horse, six pigs and three heifers.
In 1922, William Patrick Toohey married Nora Zita [Zeta] Condon in Victoria. They then moved into a house in Tower Road, Werribee.
ancestry.com Australian Electoral Roll 1903-1980
A list of Local Secretaries in Werribee was published in 1930. It included Mr W. P. Toohey of “K” Road, Werribee, as Secretary for the Werribee Sub-branch of the R.S.S.I.L.A.
Werribee Shire Banner, 11 December 1930, p.5.
Mr W. P. Toohey was the Honorary Secretary of the Diggers Road Hall, in 1930, when they were fundraising to perform renovation works. He held this position for several years.
Werribee Shire Banner, 6 March 1930, p.3.
On 12 April 1949, William Toohey purchased Allotments 5 and 6, next to his first block. These covered an area of 21 acres, 2 roods and 20 perches, and cost £928/3/3.
At the age of 79 years, William Toohey applied to the Repatriation Department for benefits under the Repatriation Act on 6 May 1965.
William Patrick Clarke Toohey died in 1968, aged 82 years, and was buried in the Werribee Cemetery.
Medals and Entitlements:
- British War Medal
- Victory Medal
Name on the Werribee Shire Oak Board: TOOHEY, W
His name never appeared in the Werribee Shire Banner's Roll of Honor.
* Field Punishment No.2. - There were two categories field punishment. Field punishment No. 1 consisted of heavy labouring duties, possibly being restrained in handcuffs or fetters, and being tied to a post or wheel. Field punishment No. 2 differed, in that the offender was not liable to be attached to a fixed object.
** A corneal ulcer is an open sore on the cornea, the thin clear structure overlying the iris (the coloured part of the eye). Viral infections are also possible causes of corneal ulcers. Such viruses include the herpes simplex virus (the virus that causes cold sores) or the varicella virus (the virus that causes chickenpox and shingles).
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