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Lost Boy Anzac | The Australian


Twenty years before Britain declared war on Germany, in 1894, a young Bill was found wandering the streets of Botany, Sydney, “homeless, friendless and unknown.” Authorities estimated him to be about 16 months old. He was given the surname “Stray” by the State and shuffled between foster and boarding homes for most of his childhood, before settling in Cessnock in the Hunter Region of NSW, where he worked as a colliery employee from age 13. Fast-forward to June 1915. Bill, now 22—though he would never be sure of his exact age and birthday—made the 150km journey from Cessnock all the way down to Sydney to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force. Those streets he had wandered as a lost little boy now led him to war.

Twenty years before Britain declared war on Germany, in 1894, a young Bill was found wandering the streets of Botany, Sydney, “homeless, friendless and unknown.” Authorities estimated him to be about 16 months old. He was given the surname “Stray” by the State and shuffled between foster and boarding homes for most of his childhood, before settling in Cessnock in the Hunter Region of NSW, where he worked as a colliery employee from age 13. Fast-forward to June 1915. Bill, now 22—though he would never be sure of his exact age and birthday—made the 150km journey from Cessnock all the way down to Sydney to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force. Those streets he had wandered as a lost little boy now led him to war.

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