In this case I was totally wrong. Each lead in the service record yielded nothing. There was also a large discrepancy between the place of birth listed on the WWI enlistment papers and what was later stated in a Salutatory Declaration. The usual sources that I access gave me no new leads, I really hit a brick wall. I couldn't move forward so I looked backwards.
Steele's WWI record mentioned in two locations that he had served in the Boer War. This was the first real break through and the following story unfolded.
At the end of this story I've included several of the news paper stories and a published version of this letter that appeared in the papers at the time.
So, despite all this information I was really getting no where. Following the success of the McCarthy story I contacted Jennifer King from ABC to see if she would be interested in another story. The end result was this online edition.
The story generated considerable interest. I had hoped that a relative would read it and come forward. No such luck. What I did get were emails from several people each of who had a small piece of information. It took me about a fortnight to piece everything together but I eventuality work out a family tree.
Samuel James Steele was the son of James (John) Steele and Elizabeth Conway. The family was from Ballarat. I think that the place on birth that Samuel James gave on his WWI papers was a ruse. This town was Korumburra and on the opposite side of Victoria to Ballarat. One of Samuel James' sisters married in to a family from there so I think it was adopted as the place of birth. John died in 1887 and this is his head stone.
The one constant piece of information that I had for his family is that from about 1900 they lived at an address in Camberwell. It kept cropping up in the electoral rolls. I was eventually put in touch Elizabeth's grand daughter, Jean, who is alive and well aged 90. Jean only sold the Camberwell home 4 months ago to move in to a retirement village. Jean was able to confirm all my research and add a bit more. It would appear that Samuel James was referred to a Jim and he and Jessie weren't actually married but lived together for many years. Jim was living in the Camberwell house at one point when Jean was a toddler which is an amazing link with this research. Jean is Samuel James' great niece.
I'll be sending the medal to Jean in the near future. I've individual thanked all the people who were able to assist me with this search, however, I would like to single out Jen King for her assistance. The extent this body of work is also one of the reasons that there has not been many other stories posted in recent weeks. The returned medal tally is 1426.