In the travels around Queensland presenting Q ANZAC 100 workshops, the Q ANZAC 100 team has taken the opportunity to visit various historical organisations to understand the commitment of communities to the commemoration of the First World War. Below are a sample of the commemorative activities that we have had the privilege to witness in recent years.
- On display at the Historical Society of Mareeba is a framed set of medals from a young local soldier, 19 year old trooper Jack Leswell, who was born in Mareeba and enlisted in Cairns in December 1914. Jack was killed in action in October 1916.
- Along with his medal set is the Memorial Plaque bearing Jack’s name and presented to the next of kin plus the Mothers’ and Widows’ Badge. This badge would have been issued to Jack’ mother after he had been killed in action.
- Passing thorough Morven, in South West Queensland, a visit to the small Morven Museum revealed this image of John Wadham Morgan on the wall. John enlisted on 22 September 1915 and was killed in action 12 August 1916.
- Delicately embroidered by the Women’s Guild at the Presbyterian Church in Cloncurry, this table cloth hangs in John Flynn Place. Friends and relatives of guild members were asked to pay a gold coin to put their signatures on the cloth and Guild members then embroidered over the signatures. The money raised went to the war effort for the First World War.
- The Honour Roll to the boys from Bowen State School stands proudly as the centre piece of the commemorative display at the Bowen Historical Society.
- Australian soldier Augustus Sharp picked up this French doll from a pile of rubble after a bombing. It has stayed in his family ever since and was displayed at the St George RSL when we visited in 2016.
- While conducting White Gloves experiences for class groups at St George State School, the teachers complimented the sessions with a poppy making workshop to further extend the Anzac learnings.
- Also in St George, the war headstones in the cemetery pay homage to the previous generations of servicemen. This one is for Charles Benjamin Thompson from 3rd Tunnelling Company.
- Boondooma Station, in the southern Burnett Region of Queensland has constructed a World War One Anzac Stories Display. The display features a series of commemorative bronze plaques with details of soldiers who enlisted in the First World War and were connected to the Boondooma Station.
Niles Elvery, Senior Project Officer, Q ANZAC 100, State Library of Queensland.