A centenary poppy tile has been placed on the grave of veteran Major General George Rankin at Rochester.GRAHAM WILLIS September 3, 2014 3:23am
Rochester RSL Sub-branch members honoured one of the district’s soldiers, placing a centenary poppy tile on the grave of Major General George Rankin recently.
RSL member John Glover and Stewart McBeath, Major General Rankin’s sharefarmer for a decade, attached the poppy tile to the headstone, identifying the grave as that of a World War I veteran.
Major General Rankin was born at Bamawm, the 10th child of Irish farmer James Rankin and Sarah (nee Gallagher).
He attended the local state school and became a farmer at Nanneella.
In 1907, he joined the Militia, and was commissioned in the 9th Light Horse Regiment in 1909.
He married Annie Isabella Oliver at Rochester on July 7, 1912.
In 1914, he was appointed a lieutenant of the Australian Imperial Force and posted to the 4th Light Horse Regiment.
Major General Rankin served in the 4th Light Horse Regiment and reached Gallipoli in May 1915, was wounded in July, became a captain in December and a major in March 1916.
He also served in the Sinai and was second in command of his unit from August 1917.
Rankin was present at the famous charge at Beersheba on October 31 and, in 1918, was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his gallantry. His leadership subsequently earned him a bar to his D.S.O.
Mr McBeath recalled Major General Rankin telling him how hard and trying the conditions were at the front.
‘‘He always said the worst thing was having to shoot his horse when they left,’’ he said.
After the end of the war, Major General Rankin was sent to Egypt to suppress a rebellion, after which he returned to Australia.
He returned to the Militia, becoming a brigadier in 1936 and a major general in 1937. During this time, he developed an interest in politics, in particular the Country Party.
Major General Rankin was elected chief president of the Victorian United Country Party in 1937, but resigned later that year in order to contest the seat of Bendigo in the Australian House of Representatives which he won.
He became well known as an advocate of returned servicemen and wheat-farmers.
Mr McBeath remembered one Anzac Day service when the guest speaker, a pacifist minister of religion, stated soldiers were merely paid killers.
‘‘George took to him with vengeance,’’ he said.
He was a voracious critic of the Labor governments of John Curtin and Ben Chifley.
When in 1949, an electoral redistribution substantially changed Rankin’s seat to exclude Rochester and Echuca, he contested the Senate and won.
He was returned in 1951, but his parliamentary activity steadily decreased.
An immensely popular figure, Rankin always enjoyed a beer with his mates, usually on sale day in Rochester.
‘‘He was one of the true characters of the area,’’ Mr McBeath said.
‘‘And in my 10 years working for him I can never remember a cross word.’’
Major General Rankin died on December 28, 1957, aged 70.
Two men charged over the armed robbery of a Shepparton service station have been remanded in custody until next week.
The 2014 Yarrawonga Mulwala Multisport Festival has been hailed a huge success by organisers and participants alike.
The fifth annual King Billy Retreat Open Garden Party will be held at Rushworth on Saturday and Sunday, October 25-26, from 10 am to 4 pm.
Echuca College students Calum Pearson, Luke Judd, Kiriana Epararma, Harriet Nilon, Kyle Melhuish and Stephanie Chong are heading to China.
A former Rochester resident is helping women with their confidence and their horses.
Accusations of bullying, disrespect and dangerous conduct.
And the school's best all-rounder for this year.
Finley's Mark Whiley has been traded from the GWS Giants to Carlton - the club he has supported all his life.
District residents are being invited to enjoy Oktooberfest celebrations at Tooborac Hotel and Brewery.
Momentum builds for the greatest show in Cobram, with young and old expected to lap up family attractions in sunny conditions.
Water users have welcomed the governments' announcement of a $350 million package for new irrigation efficiency programs in NSW, but say water availability is in need of improvement.
Farmers and anyone interested in big boys’ toys will be fascinated to check out an unmanned helicopter in action at an Ardmona orchard.
Judge comments, If I were single, I'd marry this steak!
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.