Berlin (Rheola) near Inglewood, Victoria on 9 April 1877 the son of Edward
Forrest, a miner. After two years in Queensland, he joined the Victorian
volunteer defence forces around 1900 and at the commencement of the Great
War, was a sergeant-major with the Field Artillery in Launceston; it was
said he was the second man to enlist in Tasmania on 26 August 1914. Sailing
with the first overseas contingent with the 7th Battery Australian Field
Artillery, he served at Gallipoli where he was wounded rising to the rank of
lieutenant by the end of the disastrous campaign. After recuperating,
Forrest later served as an orderly officer with the 3rd Field Artillery
Brigade (1915-16) and as staff captain with the 4th Division Artillery
(1916-17) before being given command of the 110th Howitzer battery in August 1917
the same year he won the Military Cross; his war service ended after a
serious wound during operations at Passchendaele in October 1917 and he
returned to Australia the following March with the rank of major. In 1922, with Major-General
Sir John Gellibrand (Yea Cemetery), Forrest was
instrumental in founding the Tasmanian Remembrance Club and also Legacy in Victoria. He served as Secretary of the Tasmanian R.S.L (1919-21) before
being appointed General Secretary to the Federal branch (1921-24), and was
well-known “as one of the strongest and most active guardians of the rights
of former soldiers”. After a period in business, he was induced to enter
politics and contested the new Legislative Assembly seat of Caulfield
(1927-30) standing as a “progressive liberal”; a forceful speaker and able
debater, he “scorned the idea of becoming a party hack, as did the efforts
to involve him in the frequent party and individual intrigues”. The
Geelong Advertiser noted Forrest’s “harmonious, baritone booming
voice…with a rapid utterance of speech just a trifle more quick than his
reflective process would regard as entirely safe for his own reputation as a
statesman”. He died on 19 October 1930 after an illness lasting several
weeks. Over thirty-six members of Parliament attended Forrest’s funeral
service, among the pallbearers were the Premier, Edmond Hogan (New
Cheltenham Cemetery), the Speaker Sir Alexander Peacock (Creswick
Cemetery) and (Sir) Gilbert Dyett (Bendigo Cemetery), Federal
President of the R.S.L. On 14 September 1904 he married Bertha
1943), they had one son and two daughters.
Monumental Headstone (enlarge
The Age 20 & 22 October 1930.
The Argus 20 October 1930.
The Geelong Advertiser 26 January 1929.
The Herald 20 & 21 October 1930.
Broinowski, L. (ed), “Tasmania’s War Record
AWM “Biographical Cards for the Official
History 1914-18”, AWM140.
Browne, G., “Biographical Register of the
Victorian Parliament 1900-84” (1985).
Bean, C., “The Official History of Australia
in the War 1914-18”.
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