Service Number: 48
Enlisted: 1 January 1901, Brisbane, Queensland
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 6th Queensland Imperial Bushmen
Born: Hendon, Queensland, 20 February 1880
Home Town: Hendon, Southern Downs, Queensland
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Natural causes, Brisbane, Queensland, 29 August 1973, aged 93 years
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Allora Boer War Memorial
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Boer War Service

1 Oct 1899: Involvement Private, SN 48
1 Jan 1901: Enlisted Australian and Colonial Military Forces (Boer War / Boxer Rebellion), Private, SN 48, 6th Queensland Imperial Bushmen, Brisbane, Queensland
2 Jan 1901: Involvement Australian and Colonial Military Forces (Boer War / Boxer Rebellion), Private, SN 48, 6th Queensland Imperial Bushmen
4 Apr 1901: Embarked Australian and Colonial Military Forces (Boer War / Boxer Rebellion), Private, SN 48, 6th Queensland Imperial Bushmen, s.s. Victoria, Pinkenba (Brisbane)
23 Jun 1902: Discharged Australian and Colonial Military Forces (Boer War / Boxer Rebellion), Private, SN 48, 6th Queensland Imperial Bushmen, Disbandment of the Regiment

Help us honour Ernest Weatherley's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Paul Trevor


On Wednesday last the residents of Hendon assembled to welcome home from South Africa Private E. Weatherley. During the evening Mr. Carter, of Talgai West (in the unavoidable absence of Captain Davies) presented the returned warrior with a handsome watch suitably engraved. In making the presentation the chairman said that they had met to welcome home what a shearer would call "a cobbler," the last of their lads from South Afnca. He hoped the watch which he presented on behalf of the people of Hendon would serve to remind him of his many friends. Private Weatherley made a brief response. Mr J. Weatherley, in thanking those present on behalf of his son said that this was the fifth welcome home that had been given in the district. He had heard it said that patriotism was on the wane, but it was not dying out at Hendon. The evening was passed in singing and dancing until the small hours.' from The Brisbane Courier 4 Aug 1902 (


Through the Allora sub-branch of the Returned Soldiers' League, Mr. E. Weatherley (Allora), a South African war veteran, has received a letter from a former comrade whom he had not seen since 1901. The writer, Mr. Rufus Donkin, of Brits, Transvaal, setled in South Africa at the conclusion of the war and now wishes to correspond with members of the Second Queensland Contingent.' from The Courier-Mail 31 Jan 1935 (



Memories of the intense war excitement that ushered in the present century have crowded back to Mr. Ernest Weatherley, of Allora, into whose possession has come a letter from a former comrade with whom he trained in the Queensland Mounted Infantry in 1900, before they enlisted to participate in the South African War. Although in different contingents, they corresponded while in South Africa, but from the conclusion of hostilities lost trace of one another, until Mr. Weatherley received the brief note, from the Transvaal through the Allora sub-branch of the R.S.S.I.L.A.

Posted in August last year, the letter from Mr. Rufus Donkin, was first received by the Toowoomba sub-branch, which forwarded it to Allora, suggesting that it be handed to a South African veteran. In it, Mr. Donkin whose address is Box 104, Brits, Transvaal, asked members of any of the contingents who enlisted from Allora to correspond with him. Mr. Weatherley intends to reply immediately, and doubtless other veterans, when they learn the whereabouts of their former comrade, will do likewise.

Approached by a representative of the Daily News, Mr. Weatherley said he well remembered Mr. Donkin, who, prior to his enlistment, was a farm overseer on Talgai West station, where Mr. Weatherley also was employed amongst the sheep. Contentedly puffing his cigarette after the evening meal, Mr. Weatherley allowed his mind to wander back to the outbreak of the South African War, and the departure of Allora volunteers who served with the First Contingent.

"Not long afterwards," he explained, reminiscently, "a call was made for volunteers to form the Second Contingent, and 14 or 15 young fellows in the Allora half-squadron, in cluding Donkin and myself, stepped forward. A few days later, we went to Brisbane for examination. Donkin, who was particularly well built, was accepted, but the authorities had more men than they needed, and most of us were sent back home, some because they were not quite tall enough, but the majority because they were too young. I went down three times to Brisbane before they finally enlisted me, and eventually I got away with the Fifth Contingent. Altogether, there were six Queensland contingents, all of which boasted Allora volunteers, and finally others joined the Commonwealth Contingent.

"In South Africa, quite a number of Allora men renewed acquaintance, particularly when some of the depleted contingents were organised into the Queensland Imperial Bushmen. I was unable to meet Donkin who had transferred to the Pretoria Mounted Police, and subsequently to the Orange River Colony Mounted Police. From Bloemfontein he wrote suggesting that I join the police there, but, although the Bushmen were camped within gunshot of the town, I was not allowed to go. Shortly afterwards we moved away, and, when a truce was called before peace was signed, most of the Colonial troops were sent home. Later I heard that Donkin had settled in the Transvaal and had married."

Another South African veteran, Mr. C. E. Deacon, also of Allora, who saw the letter, recalled having known Mr. Donkin while he was in the district. Mr. Donkin had quoted the initials of six separate military organisations with which he had been connected in the campaign, but Mr. Deacon explained that early in 1900, after the First and Second Queensland Contingents had been in action, the military commanders thought the war would fizzle out, and officers advised the troops to join one of the various units engaged in police work. The Third Contingent, of which he was a member, entered the war zone by way of Portuguese East Africa and Rhodesia, and participated in the Relief of Mafeking. After that the column moved down to the Eland's River district, where it was engaged for another 18 months, incidentally capturing Pietermaritzherg. Mr. Donkin, he conjectured, had transferred to the South African Constabulary which took the place of the other smaller police units. In the Great War, as indicated in his letter, Mr. Donkin was a district commandant on the Instructional Staff.

Mr Deacon also recalled having met the late Mr. Edgar Wallace, writer of sensational novels, who at that time was a war correspondent. Edgar Wallace was then a slim young man and an excellent rider, who had a difficult task keeping in touch with all parts of the column to prepare his copy for various London and South African newspapers.

On the South African War Memorial in Allora, the name of E. J. Donkin appears, whereas the writer from the Transvaal gives his Christian name as Rufus. Mr. Weatherley, however, is certain that only one volunteer from Allora was named Donkin, and, as Mr. Rufus Donkin did not return to Queensland in which he had resided for only 12 months before he enlisted, the obvious mistake was excusable.

Altogether, 38 men enlisted from Allora for service in South Africa, Four were killed in action and one subsequently died of wounds, Although the majority returned to the district, many are now scattered all over Queensland, and some have been called to higher service. Nevertheless there Is a number still resident on the central Downs. Besides Messrs. Weatherley and Deacon, those In the district include Messrs. R. S. Thompson (Forest Plain), C. Cooke (Upper Pilton), C. H. Clarke (Upper Forest Springs), A. Masters (Hendon), and R, Wilson (Forest Plain), Mr. A. J. White and G. Davidson reside in Warwick.' from Warwick Daily News 26 Jan 1935 (


Biography contributed by Faithe Jones