Rufus Rigney


Rank: Private

Service No.  3872

Units served:  48th Battalion

Personal Details: Rufus Rigney was born in 29th November 1899 in Pt. McLeay, now known as Raukkan, on the shores of Lake Alexandrina. His parents were Ben and Rachel Rigney.

Enlistment Details: Rufus enlisted on August 9th, 1916. He was 16 years and 9 months old. As he was under 21 and of Aboriginal descent, permission from the Chief Protector of Aborigines was required before he could enlist in the AIF. He was 5' 5 3/4" tall, weighed 135 lbs, had a dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair.

Details of his role in the war: After enlisting, he embarked for England from Sydney on the 19th September, 1916, aboard the "Commonwealth" as a member of the 9th Reinforcement of the 32nd Battalion. He disembarked at Plymouth on the 14th November, got the mumps for Christmas, and then proceeded to France on the 16th January, 1917 aboard the "Princess Victoria". He was taken on strength by the 32nd Battalion on the 21st January. He was wounded by shrapnel in the back, right shoulder and arm on the 4th March 1917, near Trones Wood. He was taken back to England for treatment and after recovery, he returned to France where he was transferred to the 48th Battalion on the 29th June 1917.
On the 12th October, 1917, Rufus was once again wounded in action during the 1st Battle of Passchendaele, receiving a gunshot wound to the lungs. He was captured and treated by the Germans but died of his wounds 4 days later on the 16th October. He was buried in the Iseghem Military Cemetery. After the war ended, in 1924, his body was exhumed and re-buried in Harlebeke New British Cemetery.

Interesting material: Rufus’ age on enlistment shows him as 19 years and 1 month old, making him born in the same year as his brother Cyril.

Age at Death: 17 years and 11 months

Burial Details: Harlebeke New British Cemetery Plot XI, Row D, Grave 7


Commemorated by


Victor Koolmatrie
Verna Koolmatrie
Belinda Koolmatrie

Dana Wilson
Vernon Walker
Rita Lindsay



Cathy and Belinda Koolmatrie

7th December 2008


Hayley Shaw and Katie Reid

5th December 2010