Peter and Roland were the sons of Peter and Annie Rooney of Gilgai near Inverell. Peter’s birth was registered at Inverell in 1884; Roland in 1888.
Peter enlisted in Brisbane in November 1916, stating that he was a thirty one year old married man working as a Blacksmith. He agreed that two thirds of his Army pay would be allocated to his wife. He joined the 31st Battalion, 12th Reinforcement which left Australia on HMAT A64 Demosthenes in December 1916. He arrived in England in March 1917 and was sent to France in July. Two months later he was reported as wounded at Polygon Wood, Belgium. This was later amended to missing until a Court of Inquiry determined that he was Killed in Action between 20-27 September 1917. Private Rooney was buried at Tyne Cot Cemetery, Passchendale, Belgium.
Roland enlisted at Inverell on 2nd January 1918. At this time he was a thirty year old married man working as a Miner. The Inverell Times newspaper 1 February 1918 reported he was given a public farewell at Gilgai and presented with ‘socks and mittens from the school knitting class’. He joined the 1st to 15th NSW General Reinforcements and sailed from Australia in June. Following his arrival in England in August Roland was transferred to the 54th Battalion. He was sent to France in January 1919 where he served as a Farrier with the Australian Army Veterinary Corps. He returned to Australia in July 1919. During the 1930s he lived in Mansfield Street, Inverell.
The Rooney brothers have their names recorded on the Gilgai Roll of Honor. Peter’s name is inscribed on the Gilgai Cenotaph, the Inverell Honor Roll and Inverell Cenotaph. In 1919 he was one of the men for whom a memorial tree was planted in Kurrajong Parade.