Revealing Hughenden’s stories

As part of Q ANZAC 100: Memories for a New Generation regional workshops in July, staff of State Library facilitated several events with the Hughenden community and staff of the Hughenden Public Library. These sessions included a White Gloves experience with First World War collections from the John Oxley Library, an online discussion about preserving collections relating to WWI and promoting local stories, images and collections online.

Thank you to the Hughenden community and Librarian Tracey Edwards of Flinders Shire Council who heralded our arrival in Hughenden with a giant notice board in the main street, advertising the workshops and encouraging the local community to come along and participate in the events over three days.

Q ANZAC 100 Regional Workshops advertised on Hughenden's Community noticeboard

Q ANZAC 100 Regional Workshops advertised on Hughenden’s Community noticeboard

Thank you also for the warm but crisp welcome on our arrival to watch the sun setting over Hughenden from Mt Walker, 10 kms to the south – a great vantage point to view the spectacular landscape in this part of Queensland.

View from Mt Walker, late afternoon near Hughenden

View from Mt Walker, late afternoon near Hughenden

The next morning, with the temperature at its lowest July minimum of 0.2 since 2002, Regional Workshops Project Coordinator, Niles Elvery unpacked the rare and unique collection items in preparation for a busy day of engagement with Hughenden’s local community and visitors. Visitors included Barry Merrick who travelled from Mt Isa to attend the session while on his way to Townsville.

Hosting the workshops in Hughenden, Librarian Tracey Edwards and Niles Elvery, Project Coordinator for Q ANZAC 100 Regional Workshops program

There was great interest in the First World War treasures from the John Oxley Library collections involving participation by several groups of students, including Hughenden State School and St Francis Hughenden Catholic School who posted images online of their engagement with the collections. It was during the St Francis visit we were informed of the student project completed this year which involved the students researching every available resource to locate information on every First World War soldier whose name appeared on the Hughenden Honour Roll. The information gathered was compiled into a publication, re-telling the story of each soldier’s involvement in WWI.

Booklets

Booklets created with the records of the soldiers of Hughenden researched by the students of St Francis

Family collections were featured in the second session with State Library Conservator, Rachel Spano. Several collections were brought along by Hughenden’s residents, who wished to discuss their on-going preservation with Rachel and the several ways to minimise their risk into the future. These items included a diary, ephemera, newspaper cuttings, photographs, a painting and an unusual object – a lighter created from two coins.

Hughenden resident Les Seymour and Tracey Edwards discuss fragile collections with Rachel  remotely

Hughenden resident Les Seymour and Tracey Edwards discuss fragile collections with Rachel remotely

An unusual item often used in the First World War, made using two coins

An unusual item brought along to the workshop – used in the First World War, and made using two coins

On Day 3 of the workshops, library staff, volunteer members and Council staff participated in pinning local WWI images to the Q ANZAC 100 Historypin hub.

The Hughenden project WWI Families of Flinders now has four images. They include soldier Charlie Stevens, an image of a WWI parade in Hughenden, [c. 1914 – 1920] and two of the Hughenden District Soldiers Memorial Rotunda – one after it was constructed in 1932 and the other of the newly renovated Rotunda unveiled for the 2015 commemoration of the Anzac landing at Gallipoli. It was great to have Hughenden RSL representative Jenny Murdoch join us for this session, who brought along some collections that sit with the Hughenden RSL sub-branch.

RSL member Jenny Murdoch pins an image to the Q ANZAC 100 Histoypin hub during the workshop

RSL member Jenny Murdoch pins an image to the Q ANZAC 100 Histoypin hub during the workshop

The ‘Promote and Share Online’ workshop also welcomed another project to Historypin – Richmond Remembers. Angela Henry – Manager of Community Services and Development for Richmond Shire Council created an independent project to upload images from neighbouring Richmond Shire. Angela pinned an image of Lt Col. Henry Murray to the Q ANZAC 100 Historypin hub under the same name. Read more about Lt. Col Henry Murray whose military career was a very distinguished one before settling on Glenlyon Station at Richmond in 1925.

The workshops organised as part of the regional inclusion of Q Anzac 100: Memories for a New Generation are revealing many new stories relating to the home front and are helping to uncover previously unknown information and collections treasured by the descendants and families of soldiers who enlisted in the First World War from all parts of Queensland.

If you would like to record these stories and help create a legacy for all Queenslanders, contact the Q ANZAC 100 team and they will assist. Follow SLQ’s WWI blog and read about the collections and stories that are being uncovered every week.

Anne Scheu, State Library of Queensland