Private John Simpson & His DonkeyPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Arthur Garland

A carved tree commemorates John Simpson and his Donkey.

Twenty-two years old, English-born and a trade union activist, John Simpson Kirkpatrick was an unlikely figure to become a national hero. Having deserted from the merchant navy in 1910, he tramped around Australia and worked in a variety of jobs.

He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (A.I.F.) expecting this would give him the chance to get back to England; instead, Private Simpson found himself at ANZAC Cove on 25 April 1915, and was killed less than four weeks later. Instructed to recover and help the wounded he undertook this work enthusiastically. Famously, he used a small donkey to carry men down from the front line, often exposing himself to fire. The bravery of this "man with the donkey" soon became the most prominent symbol of Australian courage and tenacity on Gallipoli.


Address:1 Mersey Main Road, Spreyton Primary School, Spreyton, 7310
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -41.212236
Long: 146.344174
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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