Barcaldine Region welcomes Q ANZAC 100 workshops

In August 2015 the Q ANZAC 100: Memories for a New Generation regional workshop went to Barcaldine in the far west. Barcaldine Mayor Cr. Rob Chandler welcomed the community and guests to ‘The Willows’ Centre to showcase First World War collections from the John Oxley Library and local collections.

Mayor Cr. Rob Chandler welcomes everyone to Barcaldine for the Q ANZAC 100 workshops, 18 August, 2015. Photo by State Library of Queensland.

80+ students from Barcaldine and Longreach schools and 20 residents from the Blackall, Muttaburra, Alpha, Longreach and Barcaldine districts participated in the White Gloves experience and Caring for Collections session with State Library’s Conservator Rachel Spano.

Among the local collections was a very special WWI nurse’s uniform worn by Staff Sister Greta Norman Towner, a former Blackall girl who enlisted on 11 March, 1916 aged 24. The condition of the uniform provided a rare opportunity for everyone to discuss conservation of textiles as well as photographs, medals and paper.

Members of the heritage community participated in promoting and sharing collections and stories online. Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Historypin were central to the workshop with examples of engagement and sharing the primary topics for everyone.

Regional Workshop Coordinator Niles Elvery welcomes everyone to the workshop, 19 & 20 August. Photo by State Library of Queensland.

Another highlight during the three day workshop was the Q ANZAC 100 digital film presentation at Barcaldine's Radio Theatre. The large screen, surround sound and open space evoked a different experience of WWI a hundred years beyond. See an image compilation of the evening below.

Top - Inside the Radio Theatre Niles Elvery introduces the digital film;L – R Barcaldine Regional Council Librarian, Julie Mitchell, Kaye Kuhn of Longreach Archival and Historical Research Group and Carmen Brooke, Longreach Regional Council Library; Troy Keith reads about the theatre's history. Photo by Anne Scheu.

State Library thanked everyone from Barcaldine Regional Council and the community for their generous support and willing participation to host the workshops. 

Congratulations to all in the region’s heritage community involved in First World War research projects including soldier names on cenotaphs, publishing the findings and planning new projects. The list of achievement is long…

Soldiers of the Stone: Longreach World War 1 1914 – 1918 / compiled and edited by by Kaye Kuhn and Jenny Slade.

Following their footsteps : from towns and paddocks they came : Muttaburra remembers WW1 : courage, sacrifice, mateship and honour, commemorating 100 years / produced and compiled by Jenni Gray, Judith McClymont, Kerry Robinson and Sue Wyton.

Blackall: to Battle and Back – a joint Historypin project created by Blackall State School students and the Blackall Historical Association

Thank you also Barcaldine and District Folk Museum and member Del Scott who led a tour of the museum, rich in local history content, objects and items of interest. Many of the images on display in the museum form part of State Library’s Picture Queensland contributed model. 

Top - The museum displays a WWI slouch hat complete with feathers, said to have close origins with Barcaldine resulting from a Shearers strike in the 1890’s and prior to the Boer War.Bottom - Barcaldine Regional Council Librarian Julie Mitchell with Barcaldine & District Folk Museum member Del Scott.R - Images displayed show Barcaldine from a different time. Photo by Anne Scheu

The trip to Barcaldine was memorable! Observing how engaged the senior students were in the region's First World War history reinforced the value of creating memories for the next generation.  

Anne Scheu, State Library of Queensland

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Greta Norman Towner enlisted on July 22nd 1915, embarked 31 July on RMS Orontes, assigned to 1AGH Heliopolis, Cairo Egypt 11 Sept, served 2ASH on Lemnos 17 Sept 1915 - Jan 24 1916. Then served on transport ships Demosthenes to Australia and Kyarra back to England. Jan 1917 assigned to 2 AAH Southall, England. FEB 24 1917 posted to 8 Standing Hospital, Rouen, France. 2 March to 1AGH Rouen. 15 Jan 1919 transport duty . discharged 4 July 1919 in Australia. Greta enlisted as a Staff Nurse and was promoted to Sister in 1918. Her brother was Major Edgar Towner VC MC