In 2016, State Library of Queensland was donated the digitised version of a beautiful painted honour roll, which holds pride of place in the Freestone Memorial Hall near Warwick, Queensland. Framed and currently hanging in the Memorial Hall, the honour roll lists men from Freestone who enlisted in the First World War. A 1915 newspaper article shows the honour roll in situ at the Memorial Hall.
Text on the honour roll reads ‘Heroes who have enlisted from Freestone for King and country from Aug ‘4’ 14 to July 1919′, and a large inset photograph features Walter E. Smale, aged 19 from Upper Freestone, 2nd Light Horse Regiment 3rd Reinforcement, who was killed at Gallipoli on 7 August 1915.
Other names listed are: Reg. Tucker, Bert Tucker, Tom. Matthews, Roy Hall, A.E. Hall, H.V. Petersen, W. Petersen, A. Petersen, J. Mooney, W. Hall, M. Douglas, Neils Lonn, J.A. Petersen, P. McDonald, W.T. Phillips, Fred. F. Phillips, Fred. Drury, L.J. Gellispie, C.S. Duncan, Hal. Hall, W. O’Grady, Hans Roth, J. Doran, T. McMahon, B. Petersen, J.J. Farrell, and Otto Munchow.
The artist behind the honour roll was artist and teacher Charles Ernest Astley (1869-1929), a significant cultural figure in Toowoomba and Warwick in the early 20th century. Born in Kent, he studied at the Goldsmiths Institute, London, came to Australia in 1887-88 and lived in rural New South Wales and Hobart, where he painted and performed as a violinist in the Hobart Philharmonic Society. He moved to Toowoomba around 1902, became the art instructor at the Toowoomba Technical College, and was instrumental in organising the first art show for the Austral Association in Toowoomba in 1903. He settled in Warwick and became art master at the Warwick Technical College and High School. Student exhibitions included stencilled curtains, woodcarving, modelling, painting and drawings. About 1920 he began to teach china painting and pottery. Both The Queenslander and the Brisbane Courier published his obituary in 1929.
Robyn Hamilton – QANZAC100 Content Curator, State Library of Queensland