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Finding Alice Mable - Sources


The first sign of Alice Mable's existance was her name on the restored honour board from the school she attended from 1900 to 1905.

The first trace of Alice Mable Cock was when the CDHS found the World War I honour board from Chermisde State School. It was in a deplorable state, someone had even chalked in some of the names to make them legible.

One of our members, Adrian Turner was a signwriter who, at the age of 90 years, restored the roll to its original condition and we found Alice Mable.

The second source was Alice's nephew, Maurice Cock who happened to be a friend of Robert Isdale, a member of CDHS. In conversation the name Alice Mable Cock came up and Maurice supplied the first detailed information about Alice Mabel. This gave us a person behind the name.

The third source was John Woodside who contacted us via the CDHS website; John, a nephew of James Woodside the husband of Alice Mabel, has written a history of the family. This greatly expanded the story. Now we began to see the married woman and the tragedy that followed.

Mary Lark, daughter of James Woodside supplied much of John's information and passed more on to the CDHS including some of the photos.

Early Life, Nursing, War Service


This photograph may have been taken when Alice finished her nurse training. (Courtesy of Maurice Cock)

(This material was supplied by Alice's nephew Maurice Cock and John Woodside)

Alice Mabel Cock was born on 11th February, 1890, the youngest child and only daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Cock. Alice's mother was formerly Elizabeth Chalk, whose family was amongst Brisbane's earliest residents; Chalk Street, Kedron is named after the family.

John Chalk, Alice's uncle, owned and operated the first bus service in Brisbane, building up an empire of horse drawn buses servicing all of Brisbane, from the South Side to Bald Hills.

Alice's father, Thomas Cock, owned a Slaughter Yard in Rode Road, Chermside. (Rode Road was originally named Cock's Road.) During the 1890's, in conjunction with the Slaughter Yard, Thomas Cock started a small cannery business, with the brand name "Devonia" named after Devon in England, from where the family originally came. The initial shipment of canned corned beef was donated to the Lord Mayor of London. The cannery was forced to close in 1901, because of the effects of a severe drought.

Alice attended the Chermside State School from 6th August 1900 to 30th June 1905 along with her brother John. After training for four years at the Brisbane General Hospital, now the Royal Brisbane Hospital, she became a qualified nurse, receiving her Certificate on the 31st January, 1917.

She enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service on the 29th December, 1917 and was posted overseas. While serving on active duty she contracted the Pneumonic Flu along with other Australian service personnel. Alice's Service Record notes that she spent about seven weeks in hospital with Influrnza. This may or may not have have been the Pneumonic or Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-19.

Nurse Cock returned to Australia on the 14th January, 1919 and was discharged from the Nursing Service.


This is the first document that a new recruit would sign when enlisting in the Australian Army. It affirms the signatory's loyalty to the Crown and willingness to serve whenever and wherever they are sent. It is a declaration of one's willingness to die for King and Country; a most serious decision.

Southall - 2nd Australian Auxiliary Hospital


Over the entrance to Southall carved in stone is the inscription "St. Marylebone Schools 1856" Southall was built as a new addition to St. Marylebone Schools in 1856. The schools were founded in 1792 and, this part at least, served as a hospital during the Great War. Southall is in Marylebone, City of Westminister, London.

On disembarkation at Plymouth Nurse Cocks went to Southall on 10-3-1918. Apart from ten days as a patient in St. Alban's Hospital she stayed at Southall nursing and as a patient, till she embarked for Australia on 15-1-1919.


The dining hall shows something of the interior of the building. The women are probably maids rather than nurses. The furniture looks temporary with the tables on A frame trestels and the seating is the long hard 'forms' used in schools until recent times.

Around the walls hang banners which may be of the divisions of the school in houses for sporting competitions and other activities.

The Dining Hall probably seerved as an Assembly Hall for the school before, and after, the war


In March of 1918 Nurse Alice was on furlow (leave) to London according to her Service Record. She could well have taken a day trip to Windsor Castle.

James Woodside


James was an experienced bushman capable of handling horses and bullocks. Standing over 1.9m (Six feet) tall he qualified as an Army driver with animals or motors. (Courtesy of John Woodside)

(From John Woodside)
James Woodside (1887-1957) was born on 2 September 1887 at Dederang in North East Victoria, his parents being Arthur Molyneaux Woodside and Ellen Blanche Woolley; James was their only child.

On 11 January 1888, his father, Arthur died at the age of 37 years, a little over four months after James was born.

Arthur Woodside died intestate (i.e. without a will) and two-thirds of the estate went to James with the balance to his mother. His father's property at Dederang was sold, the debts paid and the money invested until he was 21 years of age. Arthur's property was bought by his younger brother, John Woodside.

James Woodside attended Mudgegonga State School and then spent three years at the Beechworth (North East Victoria) Grammar School at the corner of Church and Finch Streets in Beechworth.

On 30 May 1917, James Woodside, aged 28 years and 8 months, was accepted into the Australian Army (number 15385) in the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) as a strapper and horse driver with the Engineers Corps at the Rifle Range Camp in Brisbane.

On 26 October 1917, he transferred to the Australian Auxiliary Motor Transport Column at Broadmeadows, Victoria. James embarked aboard the Aenaus, on the 30 October 1917 in Melbourne bound for England.

Somewhere Alice met James Woodside. It is possible thay met when James was hospitalised in England and Alice may have been nursing in the hospital. Mary Lark wrote "my guess would be that James would have met Alice while convalescing at Harefield Park Hospital." (Harefield Park House)

The Service Records show that James was at Harefield Park 1st Aust. Aux. Hospital and Alice was at Southall 2nd Aust. Aux. Hospital. Both were at other hospitals for short periods.

In any case James bought a five-diamond engagement ring on his way back from England from Prouds Jewellers, Melbourne for 10/10/-. It seems that he definitely had someone in mind!


James had tried to enlist earlier but had been rejected due to the Varicose veins. This time he applied to join the Mechanical Transport Section which, apparantly, did not involve so much marching. Also he gives a portion of his pay to his mother as he is her sole support.

James Woodside - Service Record Summary


Source: Casualty Form Active Service
Date: First attempt to enlist failed because he had varicose veins in his legs and was unfit for Infantry marching.
30-5-17 Enlisted and trained as a Driver
30-10-17 Embarked from Melbourne in HMTS Aeneas
29-11-17 Mumps at sea - hospitalised
10-12-17 Discharged at sea
27-12-17 Disembarked at Devonport
29-12-17 Parkhouse
18-1-18 Sick sent to Delhi Hospital
19-1-18 Sent to Military Hospital at Tidwell with pneumonia
12-2-18 Discharged from M.H. Tidwell to Transport Depot
28-2-18 Admitted 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital Harefield with Bronchitis
No Date of Discharge from Harefield
6-4-18 Admitted to 1st A.A.H. Harefield with Pleurisy and Bronchitis
7-4-18 Sent to D.S. No.2 C.D. Weymouth from Harefield
25-4-18 Returned to Australia for Change - Pleurisy - Hospital Carrier Suevic - Disembarked 6-6-18
10-7-18 Discharged

Wedding of Alice and James 14-6-1919


There were three reports of the wedding in the Brisbane papers and this is the most readable. It is from the Queenslander, Saturday 16-8-1919 p.15

James and Alice went to live on a property Warrawee, south of Miles which is 340km west of Brisbane on the Warrego Highway. In 1921 James bought an adjoining property, Wallace Brae in the name of Alice Mable Woodside. When Alice died it was transferred to his mother Ellen Blanch Woodside.

Wallace Brae Homestead


Wallace Brae appears to be typical of the 'Tin & Timber' homesteads built in the outback. Galvanised corrugated iron roof, wide verandas, low set on the flat plains.

This was a working homestead with no 'mod cons' but rather the bare essentials for frontier life.

The iron roof kept the rain out and the heat in especially if there was no ceiling. The wide veranda kept the rain off the walls and enabled the use of external studs (uprights). The weather boards nailed on the inside of the studs kept the wind out and acted as lining boards on the inslde. This was a big improvement on the split slab walls that were still in use in the 1920s.

The roof acted as a catchment for rainwater to fill the tanks which supplied most, if not all, of the domestic water supply.

Tragedy on Tragedy


James and Alice Woodside's first daughter, Eleanor May, tragically died, aged 8 hours on 11 January 1922 in Brisbane and is buried in Toowong Cemetery.

On the 30th December 1923 Alice Mable died at the age of 33 years giving birth to their second daughter, Helen who also died within a few hours and is thought to have been buried, like her sister in Toowong Cemetery. However I have not been able to find any record of such a burial.

Alice Mabel is buried in Nundah Cemetery in the Cock Family Grave.

After less than four years of marriage James Woodside was left a childless widower at the age of 36 years, which must have been devastating for him. His mother had endured a similar fate when James was only four months and she was 27.

Burial of Alice


The first interment in the Cock Family Grave at Nundah Cemetery was Alice Woodside. The grave is still in very good condition although the inscriptions are hard to read.

Details of Cock Family Grave Nundah

Two burials and one memorial

Front of Monument
Alice Mabel wife of James Woodside of Guluguba Died 30th December 1923 Aged 33 years

Side of Monument
Memorial for Thomas Cock died in England 6-3-1911 Aged 53 years buried at Northam in Devon.

Elizabeth Cock, mother of Alice, died 22-3-1933
-----------------------------------
Guluguba is located about 300km west of Gympie and about 70km by road North West of Chinchilla.

Inscription for Alice Mabes on the family monument at Nundah reflects the grief felt by James. (Courtesy John Woodside)
When the CDHS restored the vandalised WWI memorial at Marchant Park, Chermside we included Alice Mabel's name. She is the only woman listed in the 284 names on the gates.

Nurse Cock was one of the many service personnel who continued suffering from the effects of the war and, as a consequence, died, in her case at the early age of 33 years.

When the Chermside & Districts Historical Society Inc. restored the vandalized missing names on the Marchant Park World War I Memorial Gates (1914-19) at Chermside her name was added. She is the only female whose name appears on the marble tablets and on the original Chermside State School Honour Board.

Epilogue - On a Happier Note


On the 26 May 1926, James Woodside at the age of 38 years was married for a second time to Mary Emma Hamilton (Molly) Wallace aged 29 years of Old Warrawee, Kergunyah in north-east Victoria.

They were married at St George's Presbyterian Church, East St. Kilda, Melbourne. Mary Emma Hamilton Wallace was called Molly and she was born on 22nd June 1896,

There were three children born to Molly and James Woodside as follows:
Ian Stewart Woodside b. 8 September 1927
William (Bill) Woodside b. 21 June 1929
Mary Woodside b. 9 May 1934

Anzac Day in Harefield Village


Harefield Park House was owned by an Australian, Charles Billyard Leake. When World War I began he offered the estate as a convalescent centre for injured Australians and New Zealanders. A series of inter-connected wooden huts were built in the grounds, and during the course of the war the facility expanded into a hospital, ultimately treating around 50,000 injured servicemen and women. It was known as the No. 1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital.

From the website for Harefield Hospital.

Every year St. Mary's Church in Harefield village holds an ANZAC day service in remembrance of the servicemen who died in the hospital during the Great War. Over a hundred soldiers of the First Australian Imperial Force are buried in the churchyard. (A section of the churchyard was set aside for the Australian dead and is still maintained today.)

From Mr. Memory's blog 25-4-2010 ANZAC DAY

Later today, our local schoolchildren will place fresh flowers on the graves of the 110 A.I.F personnel & the Nursing Sister who are buried in the hospital cemetery following the First World War

Lest we Forget!