Serial Number and Rank: 4762, Private enlisted as Harry Cooley
Birth: 14 September 1882 Aboriginal Camp Ulladulla
Bap: 28 December 1882 St Peters and St Paul Milton
Parents: Henry/Harry Cooley & Elizabeth Jane Licey (both Aboriginal)
Enlisted: 29 November 1915 Casula Age 24yrs 4 months which gives 1878 as year of birth.
Next of Kin: F. Harry Cooley Batemans Bay.
Thomas Ulladulla is crossed out, Thomas was actually his grandfather or Uncle.
Henry was noted as ‘coloured’ on his enlistment papers.
Service: First with the 4th Battalion, 15th Reinforcement, in April 1916 transfered to 56th Battalion.
RTA 15 March 1919 aboard Ullysses. Medical discharge 16 May 1919.
Death: 16 April 1964
Marriage: Sarah Brieley 1921 St Johns CE Moruya. Henry gave his age as 38 years (1883) born Milton, Mother Elizabeth Butler which is correct as her father (William Licey) died when she was a child and her Mother Jane Brown became Butler.
War Record: Digital copy held by the Australian National Archives. Also a copy in held in Author’s Collection
Honour Rolls: Milton Town Memorial, Milton Ulladulla RSL Honour Roll and Batemans Bay Town War memorial
Notes: 1945 Living at Port Kembla Wollongong
1955 Henry living at La Perouse Sydney and noted his Mother as living at Morley Point (Bawley Point) when he enlisted in 1915.
Henry was granted the Britain War medal and Victory Medal
Forgetting all colour of skin; they offered their life for their country along with the rest of Australia.
He was granted the Britain War medal and Victory Medal, and his name is featured on the Milton Town War Memorial , Milton Ulladulla RSL Honour Roll RSL as well as the Batemans Bay Town War memorial.
Henry was born in 1882 at Mount Hope Milton, son of Henry Cooley and his wife Elizabeth Jane nee Licey, who were originally from Nelligen and moved to the Ulladulla region in the early 1880s, and the family eventually lived at Bawley Point.
He was sometimes known as Harry enlisted into WW1 in November 1915, giving his age as 24 years, yes he lied about his age just like many so he could enlist. In July 1915 before he enlisted Henry was in Milton Court, the charge being ‘Failing to have his name on the electoral roll’ spending 24 hours in the Milton lockup, and his name was then placed on the Ulladulla polling booth electoral roll.
Serving as a private first with the 4th Battalion, 15th Reinforcement, embarking for active service aboard HMAT Star of England A15 in March 1916, afterwards he was transferred to 56th Battalion. Henry was noted as ‘coloured ’ on his enlistment papers.
Returning to Australia aboard the Ullysses in March 1919, after his discharge from active service Henry was working as a Fisherman in 1922 at Ulladulla, according to the electoral roll. Henry also lived at Batemans Bay, and he later lived at Port Kembla and La Perouse, he died in 1964.
His Uncle Tommy Cooley, was known as the local blackfellow who used to say that in the forest land to the south of the Crooybar homestead ‘possums, were very plentiful, and that, their noise and call, was something like a ‘rapid, guttural repetition of the word ‘cobroo’ hence Croobyar became known to the blacks by some such name as Gooroobyar, the place of the ‘possum.
In accordance with traditional laws often followed by Indigenous communities in Australia the mentioning of and photographs of deceased people may offend. Please note in this article there is mention and imagery of Aboriginal people who are deceased.