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'World War One: the War Years' local history calendar 2015

World War One: the War Years local history calendar 2015

The 2015 local history calendar was launched today by Mayor Michael
Britten at Bega library. The theme of the calendar is ‘World War One: the War Years’.

The 2015 calendar is very special and no doubt will resonate with many people as we head into the centenary of the Gallipoli landings and the ANZAC experience. Over the next three to four years Australia will commemorate various World War One milestones, marking 100 years since Australia’s involvement in World War One. Nearly 200 men from our region lost their lives in World War One and this 2015 calendar contributes towards creating a record of our region’s past during those tumultuous World War One years.

Towns and villages throughout Australia focused on raising money to support the war effort through subscriptions to government war loans.

One of the photographs in the calendar shows the Bega Honour Flag awarded in recognition of the town’s contribution to the Seventh War Loan in 1918. Bega doubled its quota of 10,000 pounds and was awarded the coveted distinction of adding three bars and a star to their flag which can be seen in the photograph. H.M Blomfield was Mayor of Bega during the war years and instrumental in raising funds. In recognition of his patriotic drive his name was inscribed onto the flag.

Finding suitable photographs for this year’s calendar was challenging and would not have been possible without the support of the Bega Valley Historical Society and the Eden Killer Whale Museum.

The calendar is available for purchase at Eden, Merimbula, Bega and Bermagui libraries at a cost of $8.80.


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Celebrating the end of WWI, Bega, 1919

Celebrating the end of WWI, Bega, 1919

What was life like in  the Bega Valley during World War One? Do you have any old photographs showing life on the home front such as local end-of-war celebrations, soldiers home on leave or women helping with the war effort?

We would love donations of old photographs from people for the 2015 local history calendar. The theme of the calendar will be ‘The World War One Years’. In the next few years, Australia will commemorate various World War One milestones, marking 100 years since Australia’s involvement in the war.

The aim of next year’s calendar is to acknowledge peoples’ varied experiences of World War One. So many went overseas to fight but there was a home front as well where a lot of the war effort was focused for those family members left behind. Families waited anxiously at home, people held fundraising events to support the war and towns organised homecomings for returning soldiers. Life continued while the war was on and we particularly want to capture the day-to-day life on the home front for the 2015 calendar.

Memento showing grave of local man T. Corporal Bernard Joseph Heffernan.

Memento showing grave of local man T. Corporal Bernard Joseph Heffernan.

We already have some suitable photographs like one of people gathered on the corner of Carp and Gipps Street, Bega in 1919 to celebrate the end of the war, but we need lots more to make a full calendar.

We aim to put out a calendar that represents the whole shire and we would love for everybody with photographs of the Great War to share this important part of the shire’s history.

Photographs can be loaned or donated, and for people lending images we just digitise and return the original to you. If you have a photograph that fits the theme then please contact Linda Albertson on 6499 2127.

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1st Bega Troop 1936
This wonderful photograph of the First Bega Scout Group is a recent addition to our photographic collection. It has a studio mark embossed on the corner from ‘Dimond Studio 150 Rundle St. Adelaide’. What was the Bega Scout Troop doing in Adelaide and when were they there?

The SA Memory site provides some clues. A Scout Jamboree was held near Adelaide in 1936 to commemorate 100 years of European settlement in South Australia. Known as the ‘Centenary Corroboree’, a six day camp of 4,000 scouts was held in the Belair National Park from 28 December 1936. Scouts came from all over Australia, including Bega, as well as from South Africa, Sri Lanka, the Solomons, Rabaul and Nauru. What a trip for our local boys back in 1936!

Does anyone recognise the Scout leader? Or any of the boys in the photograph? If you can shed any more light on the people in this photograph, please make a comment.

Sources: The Corroboree Advertiser at http://www.samemory.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?c=5383#

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I love this photograph of a Bega women’s cricket team from long ago, maybe around the turn of the 20th Century. Imagine playing cricket in such long dresses; bowling, batting, running!

“The ladies had been in active practice for some weeks, and the game was anticipated to be close.” So reads the write-up in the Bega Budget of Wednesday 23 October 1907 describing the Country vs Town ladies cricket match. The game was organised by Mrs Evershed (pictured in this photo wearing black) and Mrs Ormiston as a fundraiser for the local Agricultural, Pastoral and Horticultural Society.

It was certainly an entertaining encounter and the “batladies … smashed up the bowling and the reputation of the bowlers.”
I can see the ladies on this cool and cloudy October afternoon in 1907. The Country team “wore badges of blue” and the Town team wore red and white dresses, brightening the day with their colours and spirits.

The match raised £7 for the AP&H Society with the Town team winning by 23 runs and everyone “left the ground happy in the knowledge that ladies score as heavily on the cricket field as in the ball-room.”

I wonder how often these ladies met up to play cricket? Were there teams from other areas? I have found references to Candelo/Bega women’s cricket games and from this Bega Budget article there was certainly some talent around!

This image is from the collections of the State Library of NSW. At Work and Play - 02104

This image is from the collections of the State Library of NSW. At Work and Play – 02104

Source: Bega Budget Wednesday 23 October 1907, page 4

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Continuing on the theme of post offices, I recently came across a lovely article in the Bega District News of 19 March 1936 estolling the virtues of Mr Potter, Bega Postmaster.  The article concerns his retirement from the position of Bega Postmaster after 47 years service.  Mr Potter began working for the Postal Department on 3 September 1889 and was obviously a respected member of the local community.  Tributes from Mr Burns, southern district Postal Inspector, Mr Hartup, Eden Postmaster, Mr C.A. Lawrence, Tathra Postmaster as well as from Mr Mills acting Bega Postmaster are included in the lengthy article.

Were any of these postmasters related to you?  If so, please tell us more.

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Ryerson Index is an important resource for searching death notices in New South Wales.

The Ryerson Index is a useful family history resource and indexes death notices from current Australian newspapers.

For the last few years Bega Valley Shire Library has contributed to the Ryerson Index by indexing the death, funeral and probate notices in the Bega District News and the Merimbula News Weekly. Obituaries published in these local papers are also added to the index.

The Ryerson Index is a wonderful resource and can be searched at http://www.ryersonindex.org/ 

The Index is especially strong in coverage of New South Wales’ newspapers with indexing of death notices published in The Sydney Morning Herald dating back to 1831.  It is constantly being updated with current notices.

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Medical equipment at Bega Valley Historical Society & Pioneers' Museum.

Ever wondered about the cause of death recorded on an ancestor’s death certificate? 

What exactly was “breakbone fever”, “Dipsomania” and “Potter’s Rot”? Indeed, how reliable is death certificate information?  Remember that the level of medical knowledge and diagnostic equipment common today was not available in the 19th Century or earlier. Diagnoses were made based on visible symptoms only, hence Blue Disease (lack of oxygen).

From 1856 it became law in NSW that deaths had to be registered with the government. However, the responsibility for registration fell to the householder of the house in which the death occurred. Generally, in Australia deaths did not have to be medically certified until about 1889.
Curious to find out more?
Then have a look at “Death Certificates and Archaic Medical Terms” by Helen Smith, available in the Local History Collection at Bega Library at R929.3 SMIT LHC.

Or if you prefer a website then go to www.antiquusmorbus.com for Rudy’s List of Archaic Medical Terms.

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