QANZAC100 workshops in Cairns

It was a privilege for State Library of Queensland staff to be in Cairns in early June to deliver a suite of workshops for Q Anzac 100: Memories for a New Generation.

Coordinator for the Regional workshops – Niles Elvery liaised with City Librarian Kylie Best and Cairns Libraries to enable residents and members of the local heritage community to engage with collections from the John Oxley Library at the Stratford Library; discuss the conservation aspects of materials with State Library’s conservator Gajendra Rawat; and actively participate in promoting and sharing local WWI materials online.

An item of particular interest was the diary of Pte Tom Treacy, recording his journey from Cairns and serving in WWI with the 15th Australian Field Ambulance.

An item of particular interest was the diary of Pte Tom Treacy, recording his journey from Cairns and serving in WWI with the 15th Australian Field Ambulance.

Handling paper records with care – Gajendra Rawat, State Library and Donald Lawie of Babinda brought his father’s personal narrative account along for the conservation session.

Handling paper records with care – Gajendra Rawat, State Library and Donald Lawie of Babinda brought his father’s personal narrative account along for the conservation session.

Representatives of the heritage community included Cairns RSL, Mulgrave Settlers Museum, Cairns and District Family History Society, Cairns Historical Society, Douglas Shire Historical Society, James Cook University Library – Cairns campus and Lost Cairns administrator & facebook account.

Highlights of the Cairns workshops included:- 

  • The pinning of local WWI photographs, audio and contemporary images of recent Anzac Day commemorative events being added to the Q Anzac 100 Historypin hub.

Participants ready and willing to promote content online.

  • Pte Charles Lawie’s personal experience and hand written account of WWI. Pte Lawie was wounded and discharged from duty in March 1918. He eventually settled with his family in the Mulgrave district near Gordonvale. The diary is on display in the Mulgrave Settlers Museum in Gordonvale in 2015 along with other WWI displays and memorabilia.
Pte Charles Lawie diary, medals and artifacts on display at the museum

Pte Charles Lawie diary, medals and artifacts on display at the museum.

  • Learning about the Diggers of Douglas project – a compilation of war service records and images relating to every First World War soldier with a connection to the Douglas Shire. The individual records are stored on a touch screen portable device allowing users to access and engage with the information in a variety of ways. The Douglas Shire Historical Society successfully applied for and received funding from the Queensland Anzac Centenary grants program to create the project. The contents can be viewed at the Mossman Library or by invitation to other locations. Read more about the Douglas Shire’s tribute to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing.

Ken Keith demonstrates the Diggers of Douglas touchscreen in the workshop.

  • James Cook University Library special collections – images depicting Australian and New Zealander service men and women overseas during the First World War – photographs by Astley James Bromfield, a soldier from Mareeba on the Atherton Tablelands. Read more about Bromfield on the James Cook ‘Between the Battles’ project – Introducing Astley James Bromfield and Astley James Bromfield in Egypt.

A J Bromfield enlisted in 1915 and was formerly of Mareeba on the Atherton Tablelands. Bromfield Album, North Queensland Photographic Collection, James Cook University Library Special Collections.

  • Local projects completed including the past exhibition of WWI images curated by the Cairns Historical Society in 2014 – In Times of War: FNQ remembers World War One.
  • The creation of the McLeod Street Pioneer Cemetery database by Cairns and District Family History Society which features an education kit component. Plans are under way to identify and pin images of the grave sites of former WWI soldiers on the Q Anzac 100 Historypin hub.  Read more about the McLeod Street project on the Society’s blog archive.
  • A visit to the Mulgrave Settlers Museum where First World War collections and displays are open to the public. Many thanks to Donald and Pauline Lawie for allowing Niles and I the opportunity to view the interesting artefacts and objects relating to the First World War and the heritage of the Mulgrave. Our readers will enjoy!
Pauline Lawie, a willing history presenter showcases a museum artefact. The Red Cross certificate states  Presented to Mrs E A Roberts in recognition of 3½ years devoted service to the Australian Red Cross Society (BRCS) during the Great War 1914-1919.

Pauline Lawie, a willing history presenter showcases a museum artefact. The Red Cross certificate states Presented to Mrs E A Roberts in recognition of 3½ years devoted service to the Australian Red Cross Society (BRCS) during the Great War 1914-1919.

Anne Scheu – Distributed Collections Coordinator, State Library of Queensland