Behind the Street Name - Rawlings

October 6, 2022

Did you know that every street in Lucas is named after a soldier or nurse who fought during World War 1?

These brave service personnel are commemorated along the Avenue of Honour, and we want to share their stories with the Lucas community.

Rawlings Street, located in the Lucas Landing neighbourhood, honours brothers Sydney and Frederick Rawlings.

Frederick Rawlings was born in Ballarat and attended the Wendouree State School. He was a 28-year-old draper’s assistant when he enlisted in July 1915.

He joined the 31st Battalion and on the night of July 19-20 1916, he took part in the ill-fated charge at Fromelles in France. Australia lost almost 2000 men killed that night.

Frederick Rawlings was initially reported as ‘missing in action’ but no trace of him was ever found and eventually he was deemed to have been ‘killed in action’. With no known grave, his name was listed on the Australian Memorial at VC Corner Cemetery just outside the village of Fromelles.

Interestingly, he went into battle carrying a New Testament that held a note requesting that should anything happen to him to please return the Testament to his fiancé, Christina Nankervis, in Humffray Street, Ballarat.

In 1935, 19 years after his disappearance, that Testament arrived in Ballarat. Presumably it had been souvenired by a German soldier, but then, many years later, he or his family decided to return it to Australia.

In 2008, burial pits containing the remains of Australian soldiers were discovered at the edge of Pheasant Wood near Fromelles, and a subsequent DNA matching program led to the identification of Frederick’s remains in 2010.

He is now buried at the newly created Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery.

His brother, Sydney Rawlings, served with the 6th Battalion and was also killed in France on July 11th, 1918. He was 26 years of age and is buried at Borre British Cemetery, France.

Thank you to Garry Snowden, president of the Arch of Victory/Avenue of Honour Committee, for providing this information.

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