At the next meeting of the Barossa German Language Association’s Kaffee und Kuchen EH Coombe will be the subject of a presentation in English by Helen Hennessy and Patricia Booth, Harry Coombe’s great-granddaughter. They are co-authors of The Defiant Anti-conscriptionist, a biography of EH Coombe. The meeting will be held at the Langmeil Centre, 7 Maria Street, Tanunda on Monday, 27 February, starting at 1pm. Entry, which includes coffee and cake, is $5.
“BAROSSA GERMAN LANGUAGE ASSOCIATION INC. NOTICE OF EXTRAORDINARY MEETING – 27th February 2023
Please be advised that prior to commencement of Kaffee und Kuchen on Monday 27th February 2023, the BGLA committee will call an Extraordinary General Meeting to set fees for the coming year.”
Tanunda’s Forgotten Hero
by John Clarke
When we think of heroes of the First World War, we think of soldiers scaling the heights of Gallipoli or rushing forward across No Man’s Land under withering enemy machine gun fire. We do not think of an elderly gentleman in a suit and wearing a bow tie.
There is a memorial to that man in the main street of Tanunda. Probably few have stopped to read the inscription. The Front where EH (Harry) Coombe fought was not Turkey or France or Belgium. His Front was in South Australia, and unlike the soldiers on the other Fronts he had no comrades advancing beside him.
Why is there a memorial to that man in Tanunda when he resided in Gawler? He was the Member for the Barossa in the South Australian House of Assembly for many years, but it was not his distinguished parliamentary career which won him the love of the people of the Barossa. It was the stand he took when at the outbreak of war with Germany they were vilified as enemy aliens, their German heritage declaring them to be un-Australian, even if they and their parents had been born here. His heritage was English, but he opposed anti-German measures that passed so easily through Parliament. He was prosecuted under the War Precautions Act.
His Tanunda memorial reads in part: We crowned him in 1901 [when he was elected Member for the Barossa] and all that is evil in man crucified him in 1917 but truth prevailed and he died as he lived an honourable man.