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William Keith Eltham

W K Eltham pyramids AWM P00046_019.jpg
Egypt 14 March 1915. Battery staff of the 9th Battery, 3rd Field Artillery Brigade (3 FAB), in front of the sphinx and pyramids. Identified left to right : 1983 Edgar Edward Ernest Evans; 1947 James (Jim) Bayley Bayly; 2009 Vivian Leary; either 1969 Harold Crawford or 1970 Norman Crawford (later killed in action on 4 September 1918); either 2019 Victor George Medhurst or 2020 Philip Aubrey Medhurst; 2028 Louis Dale Orchard; 1982 William Keith Eltham; 1951 Cecil Albert Blakney; 1936 Sergeant Walter Henry Pridmore; Lieutenant Price Jacob Morgan; 2600 Bombardier (Bdr) Albert Arthur Orchard; 2006 Gunner John Garnet Knight; 2059 James Hoskins Clennett; 2058 Raymond James Brownell [later Air Commodore during the Second World War]; 2033 Frank Olof Petterson (later killed in action 14 November 1916 at Flers, France); 1981Robert Edwards (later died of wounds 6 October 1917). Australian War Memorial P00046.019
WK Eltham art AWM gaba tepe ANZAC AWM ART00056.jpg
In 1915 William Keith Eltham drew a soldier overlooking a peaceful Gaba Tepe from Anzac Cove. This work was used in 'The ANZAC Book', published in 1916. Australian War Memorial ART00056
WK Eltham AWM ART00043.jpg
Drawing by William Keith Eltham of two soldiers overlooking a view of McCoy's Ridge. Warships are in the distance. This work was used in 'The ANZAC Book', which was published in 1916. Australian War Memorial ART00043
Keith and Roz -WKE pavilion.jpg
Rosalind Budd and her brother (Antony) Keith Eltham officially unveiling the plaque commemorating the William Keith Eltham Pavilion on the Queen’s Domain, Hobart, Tasmania. William Keith Eltham was their great uncle.
Bridget Eltham and Liza Gadd
Bridget Eltham and Liza Gadd at the William Keith Eltham Pavilion, Queen's Domain, Hobart, Tasmania. The pavilion is named after their great-great-uncle, William Keith Eltham.

Born: 11 October 1886

Cricketer William Keith Eltham played for Tasmania against Victoria, New South Wales and England and achieved great success as a batsman.

Eltham was a regular member of the Tasmanian cricket team from 1909-10 and 1913-1914.

Eltham originally played cricket with the old Wellington Club. When district cricket was introduced in 1905, he joined the West Hobart Club where he was one of its principal mainstays until he enlisted on 26 August 1914.  Eltham embarked on 20 October 1914.

While serving in the Dardenelles, in July 1917, Lieutenant Eltham was wounded by schrapnel in the mouth. After being discharged from hospital he rejoined his unit at Gallipoli on 9 October 1915.

Lieutenant Eltham was wounded in action on 5 November 1916 and killed in action on 31 December 1916 at about midday in France.  He was buried the same night in a small cemetery about 1371 metres from the small village of Flers. The village was destroyed during the war.  At the time of Lieutenant Eltham’s burial approximate coordinates for his grave were recorded.

Before enlisting, Lieutenant Eltham was employed as a clerk with the City Engineer at the Hobart City Council. The Hobart Town Hall flag was flown at half-mast to honour the memory of a man The Critic, Hobart, 12 January 1917, described as “a trusted official, a true comrade, and a heroic soldier.”

In an article entitled “Lieut Keith Eltham killed”, The Referee Sydney 17 January 1917 page 13 wrote:

“In the deaths of Lionel Butler and Keith Eltham Tasmania has lost two of its ablest cricketers.”

Lieutenant Eltham is commemorated in the Guards Cemetery, Lesboeufs, Peronne, Picardie, France.

The Hobart City Council honoured Lieutenant Eltham on 11 November 2015 by naming a new sporting pavilion at the Soldiers Memorial Oval, on the Queens Domain, Hobart, after their former employee and a well-known sporting identity. The Friends of Soldiers Memorial Avenue suggested the pavilion be named after William Keith Eltham. Relatives of Lieutenant Eltham attended the official opening.

Sport and Recreation Tasmania and the Tasmanian Community Fund made contributions to support the construction of the new Pavilion.


The Friends of the Soldiers Walk newsletter contains information about Keith Eltham along with copies of his drawings and a letter.

The Critic, Hobart 12 January 1917

The Referee, Sydney 17 January 1917 page 13 “Lieut Keith Eltham killed”

National Archives of Australia

Australian War Memorial

Australian Red Cross Society Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau files, 1914-18 War 1DLRL/0428 Lieutenant William Keith Eltham 1st Field Artillery

“New sporting pavilion named after fallen WW1 soldier”, City of Hobart media release 11 November 2015