Sunday, March 26, 2017

“Haig” The War Tank

“Haig” The War Tank
On Tuesday the 16th of April 1918 Kapundites came out in their droves to see a real-life Army tank in their town,
 As part of a national tour, the Government’s “War Loan Tank” arrived to much fanfare in Kapunda in the early evening. It was met at the southern end of town by the Mayor, Mr Jeff’s along with a procession of school children arranged by teacher Mr Murphy.
The War Tank was in the control of Lieutenant Colley, who, at the corner of Thompson's gave a rousing speech outlining the Australian war effort overseas, and how the people back home can contribute.
 The Kapunda Town Band played from the balcony of the North Kapunda Hotel whilst the tank was driven to Mr Thompson corner (Where the town information centre sits today on the corner of Hill and Main Street).
 The Commonwealth Bank provided two escorts who travelled with the tank to collect donations from the townsfolk to support the war effort overseas.
 Townsfolk and business were very generous with their donations, by the end of the evening £1.700 had been raised, with a promise by Mr Shannon to the Mayor that he would raise it to an even £2,000.
 The Sir John Franklin Lodge, I.O.OF. M.U. donated £700, and £300 from the Salem Tent No. 8 Rechabites.

The township of Kapunda had already raised £ 30, 000 by 1918, plus Sir Sidney Kidman had given £50,500 of his own money, as well as donating wool, meat, 200 horses, 2 planes and 3 ambulances (the townsfolk of Kapunda also raised enough money for one more ambulance).
(Kidman also guaranteed the jobs of his workers who went away to war, and gave monetary assistance to the families of his employees who lost their father, husband or son overseas in battle.)
 The tank later returned to Kapunda in October of the same year for the seventh war loan tour. Then headed off to Angaston in the Barossa Valley the next day to continue its money-raising endeavour. By the end of its second visit, the townsfolk of Kapunda had donated £11,000

The photo above is from The State Library of South Australia [PRG 280/1/17/384], part of the Searcy Collection. It shows the war tank “Haig” out front of Thompson building (with what is now The Professionals in the background). On the tank are Lieutenant Colley and the Mayor on-board. In front is Mr Kidman’s 35hp Overland Tourer, registration number 4926

Researched and written by Allen Tiller

£ = Australian Pounds – a pre-decimal currency.

1918 'Kapunda Herald', Kapunda Herald (SA : 1878 - 1951), 11 October, p. 2. , viewed 21 Mar 2017,

1918 'Kapunda herald', Kapunda Herald (SA : 1878 - 1951), 19 April, p. 2. , viewed 21 Mar 2017,

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