Friday, February 27, 2015

5000 Poppies

On Thursday 12 February 2015, the Wrapped with Love knitting group gathered at Hurstville Museum & Gallery among our Remembering them: People of St George & the First World War exhibition to participate in the 5000 Poppies project. This project was initially aimed at ‘planting’ “a massive field of handmade poppies in Fed Square Melbourne on Anzac Day 2015 as a stunning visual tribute to Australian servicemen and women for more than a century of service in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.[i]  

Images: Hurstville City Library Museum & Gallery

The request went out far and wide for knitters and sewing enthusiasts to create poppies for the display. It wasn't too long before their aim of 5000 poppies double, tripled and quadrupled, with efforts coming in Australia wide and even around the world. There is now an estimated 140,000 poppies collected and that number is still growing!

Images: Hurstville City Library Museum & Gallery

The Wrapped with Love knitters were excited to contribute to the project and armed with red wool, buttons, knitting needles and patterns started the task of creating as many poppies as they could. The group made a fantastic effort in creating 191 poppies to be sent to join the rest of the poppies in Federation Square, Melbourne.

 Hurstville pictorial honour rolls displayed in the exhibition
 'Remembering them: People of St George & the First World War'.
Hurstville City Library Museum & Gallery collection.

We have sent our poppies with our dedication, a poem from Anne McFarlane of Mortdale, which was published in the Hurstville Propeller, 16 March 1917.

When our boys come home

When the clouds are lifted
And this cruel was is o’er,
Will our boys be ever with us,
As they were once before.
In the silent watch at night,
My thoughts to them do roam;
Oh, won’t all things be bright,
When our boys come home.

Images: Hurstville City Library Museum & Gallery

For more information on the 5000 Poppies project please follow the link

For more information on any programs and events at Hurstville City Library Museum & Gallery, check out the ‘What’s On’ section of our website.

The Wrapped with Love knitters are all volunteers and meet at Penshurst Branch library on the 1st and 2nd Thursday of each month between 1.30 – 3.30pm.
For more information on the Wrapped with love knitters please contact Penshurst Branch Library on 02 9330 6422.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Remembering them: the ANZAC Centenary - explore our history with a book

Between 2014 and 2018 Australia will commemorate the Anzac Centenary, marking 100 years since this country's involvement in the First World War. In the last ten years alone over 150 books with the words Anzac or Gallipoli in their titles have been published. Many more are in the pipeline due for release as the Centenary gets underway. With advances over the years in research methods and easier access to previously inaccessible resources the range of books of interest not only to scholars and battle enthusiasts but to the general reader has flourished to the point where there really is ‘something for everyone’.

Previously neglected areas of research now getting attention include the role of women in the conflict, recently brought to life in the television series Anzac Girls, based on Anzac girls: the extraordinary story of our World War I nurses by Peter Rees (previously published as The Other Anzacs). Life on the home-front is explored in Michael McKernan’s, Australians at home: World War 1 in a new edition of one of the first books on this subject. Khaki Crims & Desperados by Russell Robinson tells the little known story of criminals with extensive police records who were among the thousands who enlisted.

Two new books take a fresh look at the life and work of one of Australia's most well-known war correspondents, Charles Bean in Charles Bean: if people really knew: one man's struggle to report the Great War and tell the truth by Ross Coulthart and Charles Bean's Gallipoli illustrated edited by Phillip Bradley.

The men behind the national legend are revealed in two recent books. Memoirs and letters, as well as poetry, reportage and prose have been edited by author and journalist Mark Dapin in From the Trenches: the best ANZAC writing of World War One to tell the personal stories of the Anzacs in their own words. Investigative journalist Ross Coulthart in The Lost Diggers tells the real life detective story behind the recent discovery in France of lost photographs taken by Louis and Antoinette Thullier of Australian diggers and other allied troops as they passed through the French town of Vignacourt on their way to Pozieres, Bullecourt, and the Somme. The images of young Australians are as moving as the story of their discovery is riveting.
For fans of popular history  two of Australia’s most prolific authors have recently published page turning accounts of the World War 1 conflict from the Australian perspective, Peter FitzSimons in Gallipoli and Paul Ham with 1914:The Year the World Ended.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Remembering them: People of St George & the First World War

Ahoy! Experiences on the way to war

Soon after the First World War broke out, recruitment for volunteers began across Australia, including here in Hurstville and surrounding areas. Many families farewelled more than one relative, as the several identical surnames on the honours rolls reveal. Not only men volunteered, but women also signed up for war service abroad as nurses. The service men and women were sent off with official proceedings, including farewell speeches, musical entertainment and outdoor games.
The enlistees awaited a several week journey by ship to reach their destinations at the training camps and war front. For many of them, it was their first time overseas.
Today, we can retrace the soldiers’ journeys with information from personal letters, diary entries, photographs and other archival documents and find out about their experiences abroad.

Hurstville boys on the SS Euripides

The SS Euripides was the largest Australian troop ship and could accommodate 136 officers, over 2,000 other ranks and 20 horses. Among the signatures on this photograph we can find those of George Henry Baker and William David Low. George was a young accountant who initially arrived in Egypt with other Hurstville district soldiers of the 13th Infantry Battalion, in April 1915. George was relocated to England on board the SS Euripides in May 1916, where he was attached to the Australian Army Pay Corps. William, a clerk from Forest Road, had enlisted in January 1915, being assigned as a member of the 4th Reinforcements, 13th Battalion, departing from Sydney in March 1915. 

Photo of SS Euripides including soldiers' signatures.
Courtesy of Hurstville City Library Museum & Gallery collection.

Conditions aboard

"The voyage was pretty rough the first night. Sleeping in the hammocks on deck was like sleeping on a clothes line … It is getting hotter every day in the Indian Ocean. We can see nothing but water.”
George Dunstan of Dora Street, Hurstville, St George Call, 25 December 1915, p.5.
Read the full newspaper article here.

Stowaway on a troopship

Maud Butler was a 16 year old girl from the Hunter Valley who desperately wanted to serve at the front. She cut her hair short, dressed in soldier’s clothing and stowed away on board of the SS Suevic in December 1915. Also aboard the Suevic was Alfred Bray, an 18 year old clerk from Hurstville, on his way to Egypt. He witnessed Maud being discovered by authorities on Christmas Eve, mainly because she wasn't wearing the right soldier’s boots. Alfred writes in his diary: 

“We had an Australian girl on board in uniform and her name was Maud Butler. She was thought a real heroine by all on board and a good collection was realised for her.”

Australian War Memorial: P02848.002
In this picture, Maud is surrounded by the ship’s crew and other soldiers after her true identity was revealed. Alfred Bray may be one of those watching on. Read his diary here.

Equator crossing ceremony

Accordingly to an ancient sailor’s tradition, 'Neptune’s journey' took place on each troopship for service personnel crossing the equator line for the first time. A soldier’s personal account on this ceremony can be found here.

Group portrait of unidentified seamen in fancy dress costume 
as Father Neptune and his entourage on board the destroyer HMAS Yarra, 
c.July 1917. Australian War Memorial: EN0379.

Sport carnivals aboard

Sports carnivals with boxing matches and games such as pillow fights and wheelbarrow races aboard the troop ships were popular activities for enjoyment and to ease the boredom of several weeks journey by sea.
This image is believed to have been taken in late 1916 aboard the troopship Port Nicholson, en route to England. Local Mortdale recruit, Hedley Mallard is said to be featured ‘keeping fit’ at the centre of the photograph. Hedley and two of his brothers, Basil Guy and Walter Lancelot, each served on the Western Front, the latter also surviving Gallipoli.

Boxing match aboard the Port Nicholson, 1916.
Courtesy of Hurstville City Library Museum & Gallery collection. 

Interested in more?
Come and visit our exhibition Remembering them: People of St George &the First World War on show until 31 May 2015.

Follow our Commemorating WW1 and Anzac Day Pinterest board.

Read our other exhibition post "From the LMG collection: First World War memorabilia".

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Remembering them: People of St George & the First World War

From the LMG collection: First World War memorabilia

Hurstville Museum & Gallery commemorates the ANZAC centenary in 2015 with an exhibition showcasing the First World War experiences of men and women of the St George area and how 
we remember them today.
Personal stories come to life through soldiers' diary and letter extracts, and are also told through photographs and objects. Many of the objects on display are family treasures preciously kept for generations and generously loaned to the Museum & Gallery for this exhibition. 
Also included in the display are First World War related objects from the Hurstville City Library Museum & Gallery collection. Here is a selection:

‘Lest We Forget memorial’ honour rolls 
One highlight from the LMG collection are the pictorial honour rolls portraying over 200 photographs of soldiers who had an association with the Hurstville area. Honour rolls were one of the first memorials erected in the local community to register and honour the volunteers who signed up for military service.
In 1918, an effort was made to obtain a photo of every soldier who enlisted from Hurstville for inclusion in an honour roll. The public was called on for assistance in local newspapers to provide a photo of enlisted family members. The completed photographic honour rolls became known as the ‘Lest We Forget’ memorial and were initially installed in the vestibule of Hurstville Council Chambers in 1921.
Hurstville pictorial honour rolls displayed in the exhibition
 'Remembering them: People of St George & the First World War'.
Hurstville City Library Museum & Gallery collection. 

Postcards to the front
The pictured postcards were sent to George Herbert Baker while he was serving at war. The young accountant was mainly stationed in England and Egypt. The postcards are written by his father, David Baker. The Bakers lived on Forest Road, Hurstville. Through these postcards George would receive the latest news from home, as well as news of how friends and relatives at war were doing. The postcard images often depicted scenery of Hurstville and might have brought home a little closer for George. The postcards, among other memorabilia, were donated to the LMG by Barry Roffey in 2014.
Selection of postcards sent to George Herbert Baker during the First World War.
Hurstville City Library Museum & Gallery collection.

‘The Peace of 1919’ medalets
To commemorate the end of the First World War, these medals were issued by the Defence Department to every child in Australia aged up to fourteen years, and up to sixteen years if the parents were in the armed forces.
Peace of 1919 medalets.
Hurstville City Library Museum & Gallery collection.

A bible’s journey
This pocket bible belonged to Private Henry Mayer of Mortdale, born in England, who enlisted in July 1915. Bibles like this one were presented to New South Wales servicemen by Friends of the New South Wales Auxiliary of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Henry was killed in action on 20 July 1916 in France. Somehow, his pocket bible made it back to relatives in Stockport, England. About 90 years later, the bible was found by a Stockport resident, who sent the bible to Hurstville Museum & Gallery for safe keeping. Following this, some of Henry Mayer’s relatives living in Sydney were traced down. In 2010, Henry’s bible was taken back to his gravesite in France to mark the 94th anniversary of the First World War Battle of Fromelles.
Henry Mayer's pocket bible.
Hurstville City Library Museum & Gallery collection. 

Knitting for the soldiers
South Hurstville schoolgirl Jean Emma Gordon is pictured here knitting socks for Australian soldiers in 1916. Australia-wide, local organisations, schools, church groups, knitting circles and individuals got together to knit and sew socks, towels and vests to provide comforts to Australian troops. Warm clothes were especially needed at the Western Front during winter, where temperatures would often drop below zero degrees. 
This photograph is available from our Local Studies Photograph catalogue
Jean Emma Gordon is knitting socks for Australian soldiers.
Hurstville City Library Museum & Gallery collection. 

Do you want to find out what else is on display?
on show until 31 May 2015.

Follow our Commemorating WW1 and Anzac Day Pinterest board.


Sunday 15 February 2015, 2.00pm for a 2.30pm start

RSVP by 9 February 2015: