In the lead up to ANZAC Day 2013 a number of student groups from Brisbane State High School and St Rita’s were able to examine original letters, diaries, photographs and medals held in the John Oxley Library.
The John Oxley Library holds hundreds of publications relevant to Queenslanders and our experience of WWI including army regimental and battalion histories. Also included are rare books such as Owen Wildman’s Queenslanders Who Fought in the Great War and more recently Raymond Evans’ classic study of the social and political context of period, Loyalty and Disloyalty: social conflict on the Queensland homefront, 1914-1918. Manuscript collections include letters and diaries of soldiers from all over Queensland including next of kin memorial medals, newspaper clippings, service medals and photographs.
Students were particularly interested in Rev George Green’s diary. Rev Green was a chaplain with the 2nd Light Horse Regiment. On 19 May, 1915 one of his diary entries records the death of John Simpson Kirkpatrick: “During this day 19th May the famous “Donkey man” was killed. A hero indeed Since the landing he had plied his heroic & merciful trade carrying wounded men on his ‘donk’ (“Queen Lizzie by Dreadnought” was the breed according to him) from Quinns & neighbourhood back to the beach Ambulance. His energy, cheery wit & nonchalence were an inspiration to us all.”