Honour Monash - A great Australian


A Ukranian Under Monash


Anzac Day Address 2022 - John Howells

Much is made of Monash as a first generation Australian of immigrant heritage who rose to be the best of the best.

Max Howitz' name on the Lone Pine Memorial - Max with his sisters (Max never married)

Today I am going to speak about one of his subordinates, another first generation Australian of immigrant heritage.

Maximillian Horwitz was born in Redfern in 1892. His father David's family had fled the Ukraine. When the Bible text was edited to move blame for a Jewish hero's judicial crucifixion from imperial Rome to the persecuted Jewish people, it gave justification for pogroms. Just as today the live edit of history seeks to move the blame form imperial Russia to the very Ukrainian people who are being destroyed.

In 1914 Max was working as a labourer in Queensland. He had been in the militia for three years. When volunteers were called for the Australian Naval and Military Expedition to drive the Germans from New Guinea and take radio stations used to communicate with the German pacific fleet, Max volunteered, joining on 14 August. It was a six week adventure. Max only made it to Thursday Island, he did not get to set foot on German New Guinea, let alone see action.

September saw him in Townsville. This time volunteers were being called for the Australian Imperial Force to fight the Germans in Europe. The 22 year old Ukrainian Australian volunteered again on 21 September; the recruiting staff shortened his surname to Howitz and adjusted his given name to Maxwell. He was allocated to 15 Battalion in Monash's 4th Brigade. In May 1915, Max's battalion was involved in the heroic defence of Pope's Post at the head of Monash Gully at Gallipoli. Max was wounded in the shoulder on 4 May, treated at Heliopolis he was back at the front soon after. Junior leaders were needed to replace casualties; Max was appointed Lance Corporal on 20 May.

On 7 August 15 Battalion attacked Hill 971 just north of Chunuk Bair ground that had to be taken and held to enable fresh British troops to sweep in from Suvla Bay and take the Peninsula. Max never made the top of 971, in the scrub he copped a Turkish bullet. Buried by his enemies somewhere on the hillside, he is remembered on the Lone Pine Memorial and on the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

In 1920 his Mum Alison received his war medals in the post. His dad David was still alive but was suffering from dementia.

Max's countrymen today find their nation destroyed in the name of imperial glory. Since 1945 we have seen nations released from imperial dominance, moving into partnerships where mutual respect has enabled prosperity. It would appear, however, that the last empire to fall, Soviet Russia, lacked the capacity to adopt liberal democratic values, falling back on a dictator evoking imperial glory, leading to death and destruction.

In our own region we are faced with another dictatorship wanting to re-kindle much faded imperial glory, seeking to dominate and supplant democratic societies. As our ancestors did, we must stand firm.

Max's great nephew plants a commemorative poppy on the slopes of Hill 971, Gallipoli Peninsula on the centenary of his death, 7 August 2015.

Max's Service record in the National Archives of Australia
The oral history provided by his sister the late Rose Lillian May Hession nee Horwitz

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