On Monday 17th September members of the Delpratt Family joined State Library staff to celebrate the completion of digitization of the Maurice George Delpratt Collection. This collection comprises the correspondence of Sergeant Maurice George Delpratt who was captured at Gallipoli and held as a prisoner of war in Turkey until the end of hostilities in 1918. The moving and informative letters were written to his family who were from Tamborine in Queensland The two hundred or so letters and postcards span a three and a half year period and vividly describe the conditions in the prison camp and later his journey to London after the end of the first World War.
Eleven members of the Delpratt Family, spanning three generations, attended the function and included Maurice George Delpratt’s three daughters; Professor Emeritus Janet Delpratt AM, who was instrumental in donating the collection, Mrs Catherine Hambling and Mrs Barbara Johnson.
Louise Denoon, Executive Manager of Queensland Memory, welcomed the family and thanked them for this highly significant donation, also paying tribute to the many State Library staff who had been involved in the accessioning of the material and the digitization process. Professor Delpratt then gave a moving tribute to her father, remembering him as a humble man with a wonderful sense of humour who felt incredible guilt about being captured and therefore unable to serve his country.
Simon Farley, Manager of the Arts Portfolio, contextualized the collection by providing an overview of the World War I material held in the John Oxley Library. This material includes nominal rolls, photographs, photographic albums and diaries, including the 2nd Light Horse Association Records 1914-1920 (OM77-14). This collection comprises the diaries and journals of the Reverend George Green and includes information about Maurice George Delpratt’s brother, Bertram Barnard Delpratt, who fortunately also survived World War I and returned to the family.
Beautifully bound copies of the collection were presented to the family by State Librarian, Janette Wright, and a delicious morning tea was enjoyed by all.
Lynn Meyers – Original Materials Librarian, State Library of Queensland