Mildura and Wentworth

The Mildura /Wentworth district we have taken as encompassing the towns of Mildura, Wentworth, Merbein, Irymple, Koorlong, Yelta, Carwarp, Buronga, Gol Gol, Dareton Pooncarie and Curlwaa.

Mildura (with a population of approximately 5000) had 1449 volunteers enlist, this represents the highest per capita enlistment ratio in Australia during the war. 23% of those enlisted had their next of kin listed in other areas of Australia or overseas.

Wentworth (with a population of approximately 1240 at 1911 census) had a similar percentage with 278 volunteer enlistments.

According to the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics the Australian Population in 1914-1918 was 4.9 million. 38.7% of the white (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were not counted in census) male population aged between 18 and 44 or 420,000 enlisted.

Louis Turlan in uniform

Of these 416,809 enlisted in the AIF, of those 331,000 served overseas.

Of these 61,720 died (all causes), 155,000 were wounded (all services), and 4044 were taken as prisoners of war, 397 of these died while captive.

The War office, Statistics of Military Effort of the British Empire during the Great War issued in London 1922 showed total Casualties for these countries:

British Isles2,535,42450.71%
New Zealand58,52659.01%

A large number of Mildura/Wentworth volunteers died on the battlefields or from disease on the Western Front in France and Belgium, particularly in 1915-16 during major battles. A catalogue of debilitating injuries or illnesses forced the early return of many to the district over the course of the war. Diseases and infections played a major role in the trenches causing long bouts of hospitalization, with men suffering from illnesses such as fever, spinal infection, mumps, phthisis, myocarditis and gas poisoning. Some arrived home debilitated by fractured skulls, incapacitated limb, spinal injuries, shell shock, eye wounds and defective hearing.