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Walter Higman. Image courtesy Julie Boxsell.

Walter Higman.
Image courtesy Julie Boxsell.

Walter Arthur Horace Higman was born in Orange in 1896 to Edward Alfred Higman and his wife Ann Jane. He was the youngest of four, with three older sisters.

Walter’s father, Edward, Edward was the brother of Walter Higman, proprietor of the Empire Picture Company in Lords Place. Edward, Ann and their four children later moved from Orange to Wondai in southern Queensland where Ann operated Nurse Higman’s Private Hospital.

Walter enlisted in Brisbane in September 1915, aged 19. He embarked from Brisbane the following January, arriving in Egypt in March. Private Higman fought in France and Belgium. He was wounded in August 1916, suffering a gunshot wound to the knee.

In February 1917 Higman was promoted to Corporal. Four months later, on 7 June he sustained a gunshot wound to the jaw. He died of his wounds the following day; he was 21 years old. Walter’s name appears on the Ancient Order of Foresters Orange Roll of Honour and the March Public School Honour Roll.

In 1923 the Anzac Memorial Avenue of trees was planted along Bathurst Road to commemorate fallen WWI soldiers. A tree was planted in honour of “Pte WA Higman”; it was donated by the Ancient Order of Foresters. Very few of the trees are still standing today.

Corporal Higman’s sister, Naomi, also served during World War I.

Leader, 27 June 1917, p. 1.
Referring to the death of Corporal W. Higman, a nephew of Mr. Walter Higman, of Orange, the Wondai (Q.) “Times” has the following: The first direct saddening influence of the war came to a Wandai home on Monday last when word came to Nurse Higman that her only son, Corporal W. Higman, popularly known as “Boy”, had died as the result of wounds received in action. The young man had been wounded on a previous occasion, which laid him aside for some little time. Most district folk will sympathise with Nurse Higman in her sad loss. She has given her only son to the great cause of Empire, and the fact that he has nobly done his part as a Britisher in this war of wicked aggression on the part of Germany will, no doubt, help to soften the heavy sorrow that has befallen her. Corporal Higman was a mere boy in years, but surely a man in deed. He enlisted from Wondai with Ptes. J.Thompson and L. and H. Slater, and with these young men took a fairly prominent part in local football and tennis circles. He was also a member of Court Little John A.O. Foresters, Orange (N.S.W.). He was just 21 years of age, and earned his elevation to the non-commissioned officers’ ranks since leaving Australia. Corporal Higman sailed from Brisbane on the 31st January, with the 14th Regiment of the 9th Batt.