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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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Bega War Memorial

Bega War Memorial

There are many projects underway in conjunction with anniversaries of World War One events. One such project is the State Library of NSW’s WWI website which is a useful resource for starting your own research. The site will be expanded in the next month or so with curated stories and links to curriculum resources.

The State Library holds the diaries and letter collections of over 500 service men and women who served in World War One. The diaries aren’t online yet but the State Library is fast-tracking its digitisation program of WWI material so let’s hope that will include these diaries. You can search the diary collection here. Maybe you’ll find an ancestor? I did a quick search on the place name Bega and discovered that the diary of a Bega-born man called Roy Frederick Arnold is part of the State Library’s WWI diary collection.

The other exciting thing is that the WWI website will become a space for community created content. So if you do find your ancestor’s WWI diary, you can upload a photo of him/her or letters or other mementoes to add to their story.

Lastly, if you just want a little diversion browse the WWI enlistment posters on the State Library’s Pinterest site.

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Image

Bega Valley Shire Library collection 008-00016-D

In deference to ANZAC Day on Friday, I’m sharing this photograph from our library collection. It shows a large crowd assembled on the corner of Gipps and Carp Street in Bega as part of the Peace Day Celebrations to mark the end of World War I.

The Peace Day Celebrations took place on Tuesday 11 November 1919 and was a result of many community meetings held over the preceding months. The Celebrations were planned for earlier in the year but had to be postponed due to the influenza epidemic.

Schools within a radius of 15 kms of Bega were allowed to close for the day (Bega Budget, 5 Nov. 1919). On 15 November 1919 the Bega Budget gave a full report on the Celebrations. As well as a procession, a full day of sporting events, children’s events, refreshments and entertainment was organised including a night time dance and of course, fireworks. Every child received an Australian flag or a Union Jack.

The stately looking building on the corner is located where the Bega District News building is now.  Apparently, it was one of Bega’s first banks (not the Bank of NSW which was on the opposite corner).

 

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