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Edward Renata (Tip) Broughton (1884–1955)

by Klaus Loewald

This article was published:

Edward Broughton, n.d.

Edward Broughton, n.d.

photo supplied by family

Edward Renata (Muhunga) Broughton (1884-1955), soldier, was born on 6 September 1884 at Ngapuke, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, son of William Muhunga Broughton, sheep-farmer, and his wife Atiria, née Hauwaho, both New Zealand born. Educated to matriculation level at Wanganui Collegiate School, Edward followed his father onto the land. In February 1902 he overstated his age in order to serve in South Africa with the 9th Contingent, New Zealand Mounted Rifles. Back home, he was discharged in August. Broughton married Imimaima Waikari. He worked as a licensed land agent and native agent, and in 1909 was secretary to the chief judge of the Native Land Court.

On 4 January 1915, when Broughton enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, he registered under the additional name Muhunga, made no reference to having previously been an Anglican, and was recorded as being 5 ft 9 ins (175 cm) tall and 13 st. 5 lb. (85 kg) in weight. He reached Gallipoli in June and was commissioned on 15 November. Proceeding to France in December 1916, he saw action with the Maori (Pioneer) Battalion, was promoted captain (1917) and was mentioned in dispatches. His service ended in New Zealand on 4 May 1919. In the early 1920s he moved to Australia and lived in Melbourne. Attesting that he was a retired bookmaker and a Catholic, and giving 1900 as the year of his birth, he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 10 June 1940. Three months later he was discharged, appointed temporary captain in the Militia and posted to the 3rd Garrison Battalion, from which he was seconded to the Recruit Reception Depot. Transferring to the Army Camp Service in October 1942, he was allotted to the 8th Employment Company.

The company consisted of refugees from Nazi persecution, most of them transported from Britain in H.M.T. Dunera; all had volunteered for army service and joined from internment camps. Apart from the detachments based in New South Wales at Albury and Tocumwal, the unit was stationed in Melbourne where it provided labour on the docks, in warehouses and at railway yards. While 'Tip' Broughton was reticent about himself, he was devoted to the men he commanded. Intelligent, well read and gifted with a sense of humour, he learned German phrases, spoke to his charges in two languages, knew many of them by their first names, respected Jewish custom and did much to restore their confidence as free men. Comprising volunteers between 18 and 60 years of age, and including some veterans from World War I, they constituted a unique entity in the Australian forces. Captain Broughton was a humane leader who enjoyed their affection and respect.

Broughton's appointment terminated on 24 May 1944. He lived briefly in Darwin before retiring to Melbourne. Survived by his son, he died of hypertensive coronary vascular disease on 9 May 1955 at Middle Park, Melbourne, and was buried in Fawkner cemetery. One of his men, Erwin Frenkel, wrote Broughton's obituary in the Australian Jewish News; a bust of Broughton is in the Jewish Museum of Australia, Melbourne.

Select Bibliography

  • C. Pearl, The Dunera Scandal (Syd, 1983)
  • Australian Journal of Politics and History, 31, no 1, 1985, p 78
  • Australian Jewish News, 13 May 1955
  • information from New Zealand Department of Defence, Wellington, New Zealand.

Citation details

Klaus Loewald, 'Broughton, Edward Renata (Tip) (1884–1955)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1993, accessed online 25 April 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, (Melbourne University Press), 1993

View the front pages for Volume 13

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Edward Broughton, n.d.

Edward Broughton, n.d.

photo supplied by family

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Broughton, Tip

6 September, 1884
Ngapuke, New Zealand


9 May, 1955 (aged 70)
Middle Park, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cultural Heritage

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