Written by Norman Cramp, Director Darwin Military Museum.
Harry Havelett, whose correct surname was Hablett, was an indigenous man born at Alice Springs in 1898, the son of George Hablett and an unknown Aboriginal woman. Nothing is known of Harry’s early life other than whilst a child, he was taken to Quorn, South Australia, to be raised and educated by a European family.
In November 1917, while on active service, he was charged with desertion, although the period of his unauthorised absence was only ten days, being from the 13th to 23rd October. Regardless of the timeframe, which was more likely to have been being absent without leave (AWL), he was found guilty of desertion and sentenced to ten year’s penal servitude. He commenced his sentence at the No: 7 Military Prison but for reason(s) unknown, probably following a review of the charge and severity of the sentence (i.e.: desertion versus being AWL), his sentence was initially commuted to 2 years imprisonment and later suspended indefinitely.
Mistaken identity revealed
George Hablett was awarded Harry’s three Great War medals, but it is unknown if he ever received/collected them.