AUDSLEY, Francis James
Depot V80101, Private, 1st. Battalion, AIF.
b. 6 Sep 1899 Clayton, Victoria.
Enlisted: Melbourne, Victoria.
d. 18.04.1988 Sunshine Coast, Qld.
Next of Kin: Francis Audsley, Father.
In 1986 when Haley’s comet was visible from earth for the second time in a century, Frank Audsley saw it from his home in Palmwoods and declared that it was ‘a bit of a fizzer’ compared to the first time he had seen it as an eleven year old boy in 1910.
As a child, Frank worked on his father’s market garden in Melbourne before joining the army in late 1917, but like the second viewing of Haley’s Comet, the war for him was also a bit of a fizzer. He enlisted on his 19th birthday - 6th September 1918 - at Clayton, Victoria, but by the time he had completed his training and was bound for action, the ship he was on had sailed only as far as India when the war ended. Frank was returned to Australian shores and discharged on 24th December 1918 as part of the demobilization of the AIF.
After being released from the army, Frank returned to Tatura in northern Victoria and became a wheat farmer but lost everything in the Great Depression. He managed to survive by finding some work in the building trade and by ‘living off the land’. In 1939 he was employed by CSIRO as a groundsman and remained there for the next 21 years before retiring in 1960. Frank and his wife Norma then moved to a dairy farm at Springbrook in the Gold Coast hinterland.
After about 12 years on the farm and in his 60s, Frank began to find the hills too steep and the winters too cold. Palmwoods beckoned. Frank and Norma set up a turf farm there and became well known in the local area, especially for their work with the Show Society. Frank continued to work on his turf farm until just before his death.
He is buried at the foot of a small tree in WAA section near the front fence of Woombye Cemetery.
Source: Sunshine Coast Weekly 28 July 1986; National Archives of Australia; Woombye Cemetery Records.
From the Genealogy Sunshine Coast publication
“AND THEIR NAMES SHALL LIVE FOREVER…”
REMEMBERING MILITARY PERSONNEL IN THE OLD MAROOCHY SHIRE CEMETERIES – BOOK 1, WOOMBYE
Francis is not included in the Adopt a Digger database as he falls outside our criteria of living in the district before 1925. He is included in this gallery as he has lived in the district later in his life and is commemorated on the Sunshine Coast. Importantly, as a WW1 digger he still deserves to be recognised and commemorated by our project.