Maurice Hurry and ANZAC Day

The story of the how WWI affected the family of alumnus Maurice Hurry (TC 1902) is told by Rusden Curator Dr Ben Thomas and reflected in the remarkable collection of WWI images he left for the Trinity Collection.

View the collection of WWI images here

This year – on the 1 July – marks the centenary of the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, and the beginning of Australia’s involvement in the horrors of the Western Front during the First World War. 

Over 295,000 Australians served in this theatre of the conflict in the Australian Imperial Forces, with 132,000 wounded and a further 46,000 who lost their lives.

Trinity College had a little over 280 current students and alumni see active service during the war, 42 of whom died as a result of their service. As a point of comparison, the College’s residential students numbered just 50 at the outbreak of hostilities in 1914; a shocking and stark illustration of the impact the war had on the College’s tight community. At times during the war years the residential buildings were close to half empty as student enlisted.

One alumnus who felt the loss of the conflict was Maurice Hurry. Hurry had come into residence on 22 April 1902, studying law. He graduated in 1906 and, together with his brother Geoffrey, successful practised as a Solicitor in the family’s home town of Kyneton.

With the outbreak of war Geoffry Hurry embarked for France, a major with the 38th Battalion. He was followed during the course of the war by two brothers, Lieutenant George Hurry, of the 15th Australian Infantry Battalion, and Dr Richard Hurry who was serving with the British Medical Forces. While Geoffry and Richard both survived the war, George was killed in France in October 1917.

It is unclear why Maurice himself did not see active service. It may have been on medical grounds. But the need to understand the experiences his three brothers had shared may help to explain his purchase of a collection of official war photographs in the early 1920s from the then recently formed Australian War Museum.

The collection was subsequently donated to Trinity College and some of them may have been images of the conflict that were displayed in the Junior Common Room in the decade after the war.

In these centenary years of the war, Trinity College had overseen the digitisation and cataloguing of this significant photographic collection, which has now been published online. Images have been identified against the original prints held by the Australian War Memorial, the successor to the Australian War Museum from which Hurry acquired the collection.

Maurice Hurry died in 1968 and left a bequest to the College from which was established the 'Maurice Hurry Scholarship' for a resident student studying Law, which continues today.

This ANZAC Day, almost 100 years on, the photographic collection Maurice Hurry gifted to the College provides a poignant visual reminder of the horrors of the conflict that so many of the College’s alumni endured.


We will be acknowledging ANZAC Day on the evening before during our choral Evensong service.

The preacher for the night will be Dr Damian Powell, Principal of Janet Clarke Hall and historian with a keen interest in the ANZACs.

The service starts at 5pm in the College Chapel.

22 Apr 2016