Rank: Private

Regimental Number: 2174

Place of Birth: Footscray, Victoria

Address: Broome PO, Broome, Western Australia

Next of Kin: Wife, Mrs Kepert Leila,
Father, Mr Louis Gustav Kepert,
Moreland Street, Footscray, Victoria

Enlistment Date: 26 April 1915

Unit Name: 12th Battalion

Date of Death: 24 July 1938

Cause of Death: Sudden illness. Aged 53

Place of Death: Katoomba, New South Wales

Year of Photo: 26 May 1915

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Victor Kepert was born in Melbourne but came to Broome, Western Australia to work in pearling. He enlisted from there on 12 April 1915 aged 31. Assigned as a private in the reinforcements to the 12th Battalion. He embarked in June 1915 for Gallipoli. Just over a fortnight later he was invalided off with dysentery (slight). After a slow recovery he was deployed to the Western Front but short periods on the front lines were interspersed with long spells in hospital with all manner of causes Influenza, scabies, dental pain, a shrapnel wound to his right hand and debility (often meaning shell shock). Meaning he was absent from the front lines for most of his four years of service. He was also absent without leave for which he forfeited nearly two months pay because of Victor’s frequent hospitalisations and the time taken to transfer him to and from each, he was absent from the front lines for most of his four years of service. That and the injury to his right hand, which may have left him unable to fire a rifle had authorities closely examining his absences. Had the war not ended when it did he may have been charged with malingering. Victor was finally returned to Australia in January 1919. Returning to Broome, he began his own pearling business and by 1920 had built up a fleet of seven luggers.

After an increase in industrial strife in Broome, he moved his fleet to Darwin and was the first to begin pearling there in the mid-1920s. He was enormously successful amassing a fortune over the next few years. In the late 1920s he was struck with an illness that robbed him of speech leaving his business in the care of a manager. He convalesced in Sydney where he met his future wife, Leila. Courting and proposing to her via handwritten notes. They married in 1929. While convalescing in Sydney, a series of disasters beset his business. In 1928 his Darwin premises burnt down. He lost his processing and storage sheds and a considerable amount of gear. Shortly after that, one of his schooners sank in a shipping lane outside Darwin and unable to raise it was forced to have the wreck blown up. Finally, in 1932, five of his Japanese divers were killed by Aboriginal men at Caledon Bay. Rather than return to pearling, Victor retired to a comfortable life in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales with Leila and in time their two daughters. He died there after a short illness in 1938 aged 53