Albert Jacka VC and Port Melbourne

Albert Jacka was the first Australian to be awarded the Victoria Cross in World War 1. He was recognised for his most conspicuous bravery at Gallipoli and also on the western front. He later served as a Councillor and Mayor of St Kilda – an office he used to support the unemployed, many of whom were former soldiers.

Albert Jacka was 21 years old when he embarked from Port Melbourne on the HMAT Ulysses on 22 December 1914. Could he be among these troops on the Pier? At that time, there was no particular reason to single out this labourer from Wedderburn from the crowd.

HMAT Ulysses

AWM JO6497 HMAT Ulysses

When Jacka returned to Australia at Port Melbourne on 21 October 1919 on HMAT Euripides it was to a hero’s welcome. Read more about it here.

The regard in which he was held was revealed at his funeral on 19 January 1932. Thousands of people turned out to observe the funeral procession from Anzac House, down Swanston St to St Kila Junction, and thence to the St Kilda Cemetery.

At 2.30 pm on that day it was 42.7 degrees. ‘Solid phalanxes of people stood bareheaded in the blistering sun’.*

Read more about Jacka

Captain Albert Jacka Australian War Memorial

Jacka, Albert (1883 – 1932) Australian Dictionary of Biography

*Macklin, R Jacka 2006 VC Australian Hero Allen & Unwin p265

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