My Grandfather - William Henry Collins, D.S.O

Grandpa was born in October 1889 in Clunes, Victoria.
He was educated at Wesley College in Melbourne, and the University of Melbourne.
Here is an extract from "Who's Who in Australia" for 1936.


He attended Wesley College
until about 1907.

The picture on the left is from his early years.

The photo on the right is from 1906.

He always excelled at everything he did.

At Wesley, he respresented the school at various sports.

He was in the first XVIII for football.

He represented the school in rowing, in the Junior Fours, Senior Pairs, and Senior Fours.

He was also in the school rifle team.


He studied medicine and surgery at Melbourne University, and graduated in 1914.
We think that this photo (click to view) is probably the medical student graduation class for 1914. Grandpa is seated in the middle of the middle row.
At university, he excelled at many sports, including cricket and football.

He was Captain of the Melbourne University rifle team for two years (1910-11).


He was Medical Superintendant for the Children's Hospital in Perth (Western Australia).

Click here to see his letter of service.


Incorporated into the Army as a Captain, Grandpa was involved with (amongst other things) the conflict on the Western Front in Belgium.
He was the Regimental Medical Officer of the 37th Battalion, and won the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in October 1917, at the Battle of Passchendaele.

For more details and pictures related to this time, click HERE.
NOTE: Please be aware that because of the graphical nature of the information, the file sizes for some pictures and maps are quite large. The images may take a little while to load properly. Please be patient, there is some good stuff there.


Grandpa was in the 'Army of Occupation' immediately after the war, and was based in Cologne for about six weeks. According to this letter (click to view), after being RMO for the 37th Battalion, he worked at No.2 A.G.H. (Army General Hospital?)

He then had post-graduate study in Edinburgh, Scotland. The actual qualification was a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS), but he was moved (to England) by the Army before the examinations, so he was unable to finish. He travelled extensively around Scotland, and I have many pictures and negatives taken by Grandpa at this time. He was a very keen and very capable photographer, and many of the photos are incredibly beautiful.

After working as Surgeon at No. 3 A.A.H (Allied Army Hospital?) in Dartford, England, he came back to Melbourne, Australia.

1919 - 1920

He became Medical Superintendent of the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.
We believe that this photo (left or right-click to view) is probably the Alfred Hospital staff.
Grandpa played local cricket in Melbourne, and became a playing member of the Melbourne Cricket Club in the 1920s.

1921 - 1925

He married my Grandmother, Lillias Alice Mary Bryant, in September of 1921. They moved to Adelaide, and Grandpa became Medical Superintendant of the KESWICK Repatriation Hospital in Adelaide. They stayed for four years.

1925 onwards

Deciding to go into private general practice, in 1925 they moved to Blyth, where they stayed for 14 years.

In 1939, they moved to Bordertown, and were there during the years of World War II (1939-45).

Having moved to Victor Harbor in 1946, they stayed there for 15 years, until Grandpa retired, in July 1961.

At this time, my Grandparents moved to Beechworth in Victoria, where my father had by then become the local doctor.

Of their four children,

Grandpa died in 1962, and Granny in 1970.
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