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HEARNE, Ernest Tasman (1892-1956)

HEARNE, Ernest Tasman (1892-1956)

Ernest Tasman Hearne, film actor and soldier, was probably born on 30 April 1892. His birth was registered at Carlton, Melbourne as Ernest Tasman Webb with an unknown father. He was enrolled at the College from 1907 to part way through 1910 as Ernest Hearne by F J Neave, Chancery Lane, Melbourne. Research has noted that his parents are named on his New South Wales Death Certificate entry as Henry Hearne and Hannah Webb.

E T Hearne (Rowing 1910).

E T Hearne (Rowing 1910).

At College, Hearne proved himself a capable sportsman and rowed in the 1st VIII in 1909 and 1910. He was listed as being promoted to Cadet Sergeant in October 1909 and a lieutenant by June 1910. A member of the 1st Football Team of 1910 he receives a number of mentions in the School Magazine. For example, Pegasus described a game between Geelong College and Melbourne Grammar School on 25 June 1909 which admiringly reported that 'The third goal for the College was kicked by Hearne, and was the result of a magnificent chain of marks, the ball passing in quick succession from Birnie to Dunlop, to Baker, to Young, and finally to Hearne' . He participated in the College Sports of 1909 running 3rd in the 440 yards and 2nd in the 100yd Maiden Race and was a member of the Combined Sports Team of 1910. He won 1st prize for Elocution in 1909. In 1910 he was a School Prefect. In October 1911 Pegasus reported: 'E. Hearne visited the College the other day. He also has just returned from a trip to England and the Continent, and intends shortly to settle on the land' .

In 1915, he married Enid Annie Duncan (?-1964), the daughter of William and Mary Duncan, and they resided at Pomeroy House, Macleay Street, Sydney before Hearne left for service during World War I.

Ernest enlisted (No 6862) on 30 June 1915, and embarked with 12 Battery, 4th FAB, HMAT A18 Wiltshire on 18 November 1915 for Egypt and France, and served as Gunner E T Hearne, 4th Field Artillery Brigade. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on 29 July 1916, served with 2nd Division Artillery, and was wounded on 9 August 1916, with a gunshot wound to the head and thigh, as related by Gunner Ernest Ivan 'Tim' Ware of 10 Battery, 4 FAB: ‘I don't know if any of you remember Hearne, he was in the 10th Battery, a fellow with a dark moustache, a Geelong College boy, he was with us at Scott's (Hotel, Melbourne) the night before we left, his wife was staying there, she was with Mrs Douglass, well at any rate I saw him wounded yesterday, he has just got his commission, he and Dickson (Captain, OC of 10th Battery) were together, a shell lobbed close to them, wounding Dickson badly in the legs, and Hearne in the hand and leg, but not badly. ‘

Further promoted Lieutenant on his discharge from hospital on 1 Decernber 1916, he returned to France on 19 February 1917, where he rejoined 4th FAB. He was gassed in late 1917, and granted leave to England on 28 December 1917 until 18 January 1918. In July 1918 he was admitted to 47th CCS suffering from his previous wounds, and was evacuated to England. He returned to Australia on HMT Derbyshire, embarking on 2 March 1919.

After returning to Australia, Ernest Hearne became an actor in the early film industry featuring in three films in 1921: 'The Gentleman Bushranger'; 'While the Billy Boils'; and 'Rudd's New Selection' . 'The Gentleman Bushranger' was a melodrama by Director, Beaumont Smith (1885-1950) which starred Hearne in the feature role as the falsely accused 'Richard Lavender'. The film was notable for subverting the ban on films about bushranging which applied from about 1912 to the 1930s. Hearne played the minor part of 'Jim Regan, a decorated soldier in the popular film, 'Rudd's New Selection' directed by Raymond Longford (1878-1959). In 'While the Billy Boils' by Beaumont Smith, Hearne played the part of 'Steelman'. Images from 'While the Billy Boils' and 'Rudd's New Selection' including Ernest Hearne are held by the National Film and Sound Archive. Henry Lawson also played parts in both films by Beaumont Smith.

During World War Two he served as a Major with an Anti-Tank Battery of the Royal Australian Artillery.

(Ernest Ivan ‘Tim’ Ware (1894-1919), an Old Geelong Grammarian, and the son of John and Lucy Ware, of Strathample, Lower Gellibrand, wrote extensive letters to his parents of his service with 4 Field Artillery Brigade throughout the campaigns in Egypt, France and Belgium. He survived the war only to be struck down by the influenza epidemic in 1919, he died on 13 February 1919, and is buried in the Charleroi Civilian Cemetery - Grave C.4.)

Sources: Paul Mishura biographical research; Geelong Collegians at the Great War compiled by James Affleck. p 209 (citing The Pegasus; Ware Family Papers; National Archives; Pegasus October 1910 p9; Pegasus October 1909 p10; Pegasus December 1909 p60, p62, p63; Pegasus April 1910 p9; Pegasus June 1910 p2; Pegasus October 1911 p24..
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