Albert Jacka VC MC and Bar

About Albert Jacka

Albert Jacka was born at Layard, near Winchelsea, on 10 January 1893, the fourth child of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Jacka.

When Albert was five the family moved to Wedderburn where he attended elementary school. He worked first as a labourer with his father and later for the State Forest Department. He was shy but excelled at sports, especially cycling. Like his three brothers, Bert Jacka was raised in a tradition of independent thought loyalty to his mates, fairness and generosity. He developed a formidable combination of unmatched bravery, instinctive military skills and born leadership which would later prove an occasional embarrassment to his superior officers.

Jacka enlisted on 18 September 1914 as a private in the 14th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. The Battalion arrived at Gallipoli on 26 April 1915. For his part in the action of 19 May 1915, Jacka was awarded the Victoria Cross. He also received five hundred pounds and a gold watch, promised by John Wren to the first Australian Victorian Cross winner. Jacka fought with great gallantry and distinction in a number of actions and was wounded seriously on several occasions. In May 1918, he was badly gassed at Villers Bretonneaux and saw no more action.

Shortly after his demobilisation, Jacka and two other members of the 14th Battalion established a business importing and exporting electrical goods. The other partners were John Wren and two of his associates.

On 17 January 1921, he married Frances Veronica Carey in St Mary’s Catholic Church, East St Kilda. They would later adopt a daughter, Betty, who was four years old when Jacka died.

In September 1929, Jacka was elected to the St Kilda City Council and elected Mayor the following year. In the same year his business collapsed amid rumours that Wren had withdrawn his support because Jacka had refused to lend his name to some of Wren’s other enterprises.

Throughout his short term on Council, Jacka worked for the cause of the unemployed with the same devotion and commitment that he had shown as a soldier.

Albert Jacka died as a result of war injuries at Caulfield Military Hospital on 17 January 1932.

Annual memorial service

A memorial service acknowledging the life and service of Albert Jacka is held at St Kilda Cemetery each year. The community is invited to come and pay respects at this service which usually occurs on the Sunday closest to 17 January, and is followed by afternoon tea at St Kilda Town Hall.

Councillor Albert & Mrs Frances Jacka sk0035
Councillor Albert & Mrs Frances Jacka sk0035
Councillor Albert Jacka sk0047
Councillor Albert Jacka sk0047
Reveille Magazine sk0780
Reveille Magazine sk0780
Councillor Captain Albert Jacka Appeal sk2849
Councillor Captain Albert Jacka Appeal sk2849

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