Who was Colin Blumer?
Colin Blumer was born in Mudgee, New South Wales in 1895, and attended Hurlstone Agricultural High School. He was in his second year of agricultural studies at Hawkesbury Agricultural College when war broke out in 1914. He lied about his age in order to enlist on 26 August 1914, stating that he was 20 years old rather than 18. His family was not happy about this but did not stop him.
He served with distinction in WWI, including stints with the Gallipoli campaign and in Ypres and Pozières on the Western Front and was wounded four times. He was commended for his actions, and was awarded the Military Medal for his courageous leadership at Pozières on 25 July 1916. The citation read (in part):
“Although buried once and wounded he continued at duty and by his confidence and cheery words kept up the spirits of his men during a most intense bombardment of the trenches till ordered to advance, when he led his men forward.”.
Blumer completed the studies he had been undertaking when the First World War intervened. In May 1924, he was awarded a Bachelor of Veterinary Science, having also won the William Cooper and Nephews’ Prize for Veterinary Parasitology. Three months later he was appointed as a veterinary surgeon in the Stock and Brands Branch of the Department of Agriculture. On 20 December the same year, Blumer married Clarice Aileen Beer in Nambucca Heads.
On 23 January 1940, Blumer was reappointed for service with the Militia Services. He served with the 12th Light Horse until 15 July 1942, when he commenced full-time duty with the 12th Australian Motor Regiment. In September that year, he volunteered and was accepted for service in the AIF. He was transferred to the 12th Australian Armoured Car Regiment on 4 November 1942. His appointment was terminated 11 April 1944, after having only undertaken garrison duty within Australia.
Following his war service, Blumer was appointed to the position of Senior Veterinary Officer for the State of New South Wales in 1944. Three years later, he was working in the Division of Animal Husbandry for the Department of Agriculture. He had been stationed in Armidale, New South Wales, but in 1948 moved to Sydney where he was appointed Chairman of the Board of Tick Control in Lismore, a position he held for about five years before being appointed Deputy Chief of the Division of Animal Husbandry. Two years later Blumer was promoted to chief, and he remained in this role until retiring in 1960. In 1965, the University of New England honoured him by naming its veterinary laboratory after him.
Blumer and his wife, Clarice, did not have any children. He died on 2 July 1973 aged 77 leaving a legacy of outstanding public and private achievement. His funeral was well attended, not least by those remaining of the 3rd Battalion AIF Association, of which he was president.
With thanks to:
The Hurlstone Agricultural High School Alumni Newsletter, March 2015, Kristina Petkovich