How we got our name “El Arish”
In the First World War a battle was fought at Arish on the Sinai peninsula in 1916. This was a significant battle with the combined British, Australian and
New Zealand forces securing El Arish in December 1916, and thus successfully clearing the whole of the Sinai Peninsula of Turkish forces. Francis Paxton Martin served in Palestine and on his return he was the supervisor of the Maria Creek soldier settlement, which was later re-named El Arish by the community, presumably in memory of that battle.
The town of Arish (Sinai) is by a big wadi, the Wadi Al Arish, which receives flash flood water from much of north – not unlike ourselves. Arish is the capital and largest city of the Egyptian governorate of North Sinai, as well as the largest city on the entire Sinai Peninsula, lying on the Mediterranean coast of the Sinai peninsula, 344 kilometers (214 mi) northeast of Cairo. Arish is distinguished by its clear blue water, widespread fruitful palmy wood on its coast, and its soft white sand.
At the beginning of the First World War it was in a part of Palestine under the control of Turkey. It was a strategic watering place and hospital town in WWI for the Australian Light Horse Brigade on the push to Damascus. El Arish became a Returned Soldier Settlement after the war and is one of the few still surviving successfully today.
The original settlement was “The Maria Creek Soldiers’ Settlement at El Arish” and was established on 1st August 1920, the Lands Department having suitably divided the area of a little less than 4,000 acres for the purpose. (read more)