Maryborough’s rich military connections

Anyone reading the State Library WWI blog series would have noted the interesting story linked to the unveiling of the Duncan Chapman statue commissioned by the community of Maryborough, prior to the 2015 Anzac Dawn Service held in Maryborough city. Several hundred people assembled early on the morning of April 24 to honour the unveiling of the bronze statue, and to reflect on the man and all who followed him ashore in the dawn of April 25 one hundred years earlier.

Maryborough’s heritage community is a rich one. As many as 17 heritage centres and museums are listed on the Fraser Coast museum trail. Visiting Maryborough to lead a series of Q ANZAC 100 workshops with the Fraser Coast heritage community gave Niles Elvery and I, an opportunity to visit two of these sites to learn more about their collections and their significance to Queensland.

John Meyers led us on a very extensive tour of the collections housed in the heritage listed building in Wharf Street.

The Maryborough Military & Colonial Museum is a non-profit heritage endowment created and sustained by John and Else Meyers for the benefit of the Fraser Coast community.

The Gallipoli Room displays significant collections relating to the First World War.

Too many to name individually, the Gallipoli Room display is very poignant, highlighting the research and collaboration that has gone into connecting people to the stories of World War I. For more information about these collections or content relating to World War I, the museum’s website is very helpful as are John and his team of volunteers.

Top middle: The 1914/15 Star medal awarded to Duncan Chapman on loan to the Museum by the Chapman family and related objects.

Niles and I were also encouraged to visit the Maryborough State High School  Museum / Archive, formerly the Maryborough Boys Grammar School which was established in 1881. Welcomed by Annette Seymour, a parent volunteer of the school, the archive is a wonderful example of the school’s rich history in education, sport and achievement, also demonstrating the school’s pride in the young men of the school that fought voluntarily in The Great War.

The Honour Board lists every male student attending Maryborough Boys Grammar who fought in the Great War, 1914 – 1918.

Upon closer inspection two names stand out. They include Duncan Chapman and William Glasgow, Queensland’s highest ranking officer to serve during World War I, who was born in Tiaro in 1876, not far from Maryborough.

Alphabetical list of student names on the Honour Board.

Alphabetical list of student names on the Honour Board.

Many of you may have read Librarian Lynn Meyer’s blog story concerning the Gallipoli campaign which was re-told by William T. Glasgow in his correspondence to his wife Belle. The Maryborough Military and Colonial Museum displays many ephemeral items belonging to William Glasgow throughout his career and even a personal coat worn by his wife Belle.

This coat was worn by William Glasgow's wife 'Belle'.

Thank you to the heritage community of Maryborough for sharing your local knowledge and proud heritage during our visit.

At State Library, the Sir William and Lady Glasgow manuscript collection is currently being digitised, with select documents featuring in the Distant Lines exhibition, which opened in April and continued until 15 November 2015.

Why share this with you? The Maryborough connection and the unique collections displayed reflect the time, individuals and stories bringing new value to them. 

For more information visit Q ANZAC 100: Memories for a New Generation and subscribe to the Queensland memory enewsletter to keep up to date with the WWI commemoration project at State Library.

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