News

Anzac DNA link

NOT FORGOTTEN: Gympie’s Sue Forrest tells of her family’s search for a lost soldier.
NOT FORGOTTEN: Gympie’s Sue Forrest tells of her family’s search for a lost soldier. Renee Pilcher

PRIVATE John Robertson Forrest did not know what he started when he migrated to Australia, but his Gympie relatives still remember the great uncle who helped get their large and extended family started.

Gympie's Sue Forrest says she is delighted that the family she married into has at last found out what happened to the man they still call Uncle Jack, an Anzac hero killed in action in the First World War.

It has taken 96 years of history and the latest in DNA technology to find out what happened to the man who sponsored the migration of a brother and sister - founders of a huge extended family that now includes a long list of prominent Gympie surnames.

Pte Forrest was killed in action at the Battle of Fromelles in 1916 and was buried in a mass grave at Pheasant Wood.

He was 25 and unmarried. His brother, who fought with the British Army, died in London of war wounds.

Now, just in time for Anzac Day this year, the truth has been revealed.

Private John Robertson Forrest was only recently formally identified as a victim of the fighting at the French battlefield of Fromelles.

The latest DNA technology used samples from four of his family's descendants.

He was formally identified only last month at the recent Joint Identification Board held in London.

He is one of 250 diggers buried in Pheasant Wood, near Fromelles, by the Germans and was one of nine men identified at last month's identification board.

Former Gympie woman Katrina Giebels says the family, which has connections with some of Gympie's best known surnames, are all descended from the sister and younger brother sponsored to Australia by John Forrest.

Family names such as Grant, White, Wilbraham and Hall are among members of the huge extended family which owes its genetic history in Australia to Pte Forrest.

"My father, a Forrest, managed the National Bank for about 11 years and I worked there for a while," Mrs Giebels said yesterday.

"His sister Elizabeth came out by herself at 15 to join him in his business in Sydney.

"She wrote in her memoirs that she was looking for him in civilian clothes and when she saw him in uniform, realised he would not be there for her.

"She wrote that her heart sank.

"When she realised he was never coming home, she sent for her younger brother Samuel.

"They both moved to Gympie .

"Eliza married Harold White and Samuel married Harold's sister Gladys."

It was a prolific relationship.

"Samuel and Gladys, my grandparents, ended up with nine children.

"My dad also had nine children."

Harold and Eliza's daughter married into the Grant family and there are also links to the Whites, Wilbrahams and Halls.

"Barbara was one of Harold and Eliza's five children. Her DNA was important because she was in a direct female line.

"Three male descendants also provided samples which helped in the identification."

Gympie Times

Topics:  anzac dna



Six hideaway bars to escape winter chill

THE last season of GoT finally uttered the words we’ve been waiting six seasons to hear and now that the weather has cooled down in Brisbane, “winter is here.”

Our six art gallery picks for a creative day out

Queensland's Gallery of Modern Art always has a fun, exciting and interesting exhibition on show for the whole family to enjoy.

YOU'D be mistaken in thinking Brisbane wasn't an arty city.

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

You loved the film, now you're about to love the musical. Don't miss The Bodyguard The Musical in Brisbane this July.

THE arts and culture events you don't want to miss.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Don't miss your chance to meet Gympie council

Gympie regional council Daryl Dodt, Mal Gear, Dan Stewart, Mayor Mick Curran, Bob Leitch, Glen Hartwig, James Cochrane, Mark McDonald and Hilary Smerdon.

More people needed at Meet the Mayor and Councillor nights

Pauline Hanson's plane story contradicted by leaked tapes

Pauline Hanson with the One Nation plane — complete with party logo and a caricature of Senator Hanson — flown by James Ashby.

Senator Hanson indicates developer Bill McNee donated the cash

Fix the Bruce Hwy and unlock our full potential

Applications open tomorrow for the $20m in funding

Local Partners

Everything coming to Netflix, Stan, Foxtel and Amazon Prime Video this June

AS ANOTHER month comes to an end, we get ready to have new content added to our streaming services. Here is everything coming this June.

Sam Armytage and Tom Cruise? Saaaaay what?

Apparently, the answer is no.

Musical tribute to flood volunteers released

Songwriter honours flood volunteers who helped their neighbours.

Lismore songwriter Simon Thomas was moved by strangers' kindness

Karl Stefanovic's rant about Schapelle Corby 'a bit rich'

Karl Stefanovic is sick of hearing about Schapelle Corby.

Maybe he just wanted to make himself the story.

Could Schapelle be heading for Gladstone?

Australian Schapelle Corby is escorted by Bali Police at the parole office in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, 27 May 2017.

Schapelle's mother teases her free daughter could be Gladstone bound

Six things you never knew about Men in Black

Mushu the pug

It's been 20 years since Men in Black first hit cinemas

10 strange stories behind famous sex scenes

Khaleesi and Khal Drogo in a steamy moment.

Every set has their own way of filming sex scenes

Bush-beach relief for renters in tough times

TENANTS: Families are finding it hard to put a roof over their heads in Gympie region.

Tenants on struggle street in from Gympie to Bundaberg

New $46.7m counter-terrorism facility to be built in Wacol

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, pictured with Police Commisioner Ian Stewart, has announced plans to build a new counter-terrorism facility in Wacol.

The facility will be built over three years.

Home to a sex worker: Sordid history of iconic Coast shed

Milojevic Djordjevic's daughter Linda at the derelict shed on Yandina-Coolum Road.

The shed was once a liveable 'barrack'.

This is real estate's billion-dollar man

Bob Wolff at AREC with John McGrath of McGrath Real Estate.

They don’t call him the “Billion dollar man” for nothing

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!