Madge Roughley ANZAC
Madge Roughley commemorates ANZAC Day each year, and has done since she was a young girl, growing up in Arcadia. This year Madge, who lives in Northbridge, visited the Galston Cenotaph a week before the Galston Commemoration event, to remember her father, Eric Carlson and her uncle, Herman Carlson, and take another look at their names on the Cenotaph list.
Her father, Eric, enlisted as J Carlson - the ‘J’ stood for John, and didn’t sound so ‘German’, he thought. His younger brother Herman is listed on the cenotaph above Eric, as ‘ W H Carlson’.
Eric Waldemar Carlson was born on the 10th May 1887 at Windsor, New South Wales. Eric was the second son of Axel Wilhelm and Eliza ( Woods) Carlson. Axel had been a Swedish seaman who ‘ jumped ship’ in Sydney and became officially naturalised on 14th March 1883. Eric had an older brother, Manfred Ferdinand Carlson, a younger brother, Wilhelm Herman Carlson, and two younger sisters, Eliza Leonora Carlson, and Ann Jane Carlson. The family later lived for some years on a dairy farm at Moore Park, then moved to Redfern, Birralee and Castle Hill.
Eric (John) and Herman signed up to join the fighting forces in World War 1 on 14th January 1916. Eric’s regimental number was Private 4663, and he served in the 53rd Battalion. He saw active service at Villers Bretonneux and Ypres. He contracted severe bronchitis in the trenches, and spent some time in Reading, England, recuperating. He returned to Sydney in 1919.
On 26th March 1923 he married Elizabeth Sydney Waddell Norquay. Elizabeth was the granddaughter of the Waddell’s of Galston. Eric and Elizabeth built a new home on his property on Wylds Road Arcadia and started farming. He later purchased another home on Arcadia Road Arcadia. Eric and Elizabeth had two daughters, Madge who was born on 26th May 1925 and Shirley who was born four years later in 1929.
When times were difficult on the farm, Eric worked for the Galston Co-Op, and travelled to northern New South Wales, promoting the sale of Arcadia and Galston’s citrus fruit. After Madge and Shirley married and left home — Madge married Colin Lesley Roughley of Galston’s Fagan family, and Shirley married Tom Kildea from Berowra Waters — he worked for the Post Master General’s Department (PMG) on the electricity lines. He lost his left eye when a piece of steel flew into his eye. Eric’s wife Elizabeth died after a road accident in Blacks Road Arcadia on 31st December 1953. He lived for a further 10 years with his two daughters and their families in Galston and Hornsby. Eric died on 1st May 1963 in Madge and Colin’s home in Galston.
Madge, now 91 years of age, attended the 2016 Galston Anzac Commemoration and proudly wore her father’s medals. She looks forward to returning for the 2017 event next year.