Noosa remembers: a history of the World War I memorials of Noosa Shire was launched at the Pomona Memorial rotunda on Friday 8 September 2017. This date is significant as exactly 100 years before, on Saturday 8 September 1917, the Roll of Honour for Noosa Shire was unveiled and dedicated. As with many communities across Queensland, the residents of the shire were so keen to pay tribute to those who served, that the Roll of Honour was commissioned part way into the war.
Noosa Remembers successfully launched. L to R: Kerri Contini, Manager Libraries & Galleries, Noosa Library Service; Joe Hextall, Co-author, Noosa Remembers; Jane Harding, Heritage Librarian, Noosa Library Service and Co-author, Noosa Remembers; Cr Tony Wellington, Mayor, Noosa Council
It was a privilege to be invited to attend this launch and great to see the memorials in the area being documented. The publication co-authored by Joe Hextall and Jane Harding (Heritage Librarian at Noosa Library Service) traces the history of the various First World War memorials located within the district. The memorials come in the form of parks and reserves, halls, baths, an avenue and a rotunda plus eight honour boards in places such as Pomona, Federal, Cooroy, Cooran and Tewantin. Using funding from the Anzac Centenary Grant and information provided by members of the community, this publication demonstrates how the community resourced the building of the shire's memorials.
In his forward to the publication, Noosa Mayor Tony Wellington says: "it's a story about how a community paid tribute to sacrifice and honour. But it it's also a salient reminder of just how the surviving physical structures continue to resonate in the daily lives of Noosa Shire Residents".
The launch was held in the Pomona Memorial Reserve, planning for which began in 1917 although the Rotunda itself was not completed until mid 1938. The official opening of the reserve and rotunda was held on 24th June 1939, only 10 weeks before the outbreak of the Second World War and is cause for reflection on what a significant event the First World was in the community as 20 years later people were still wanting to remember those who served.
Adjacent to the reserve is the Pomona Memorial School of Arts & Memorial Hall which was built as a tribute to the local soldiers who did not return from the Great War. It was officially opened in September 1926. The hall was the venue for guests at the book launch to view Noosa Library Service's Noosa's War Front exhibition which was developed in 2015. See more about Noosa's War Front in the Noosa Library services's HistoryPin collection.
On the wall inside the hall are a number of framed artefacts such as honour rolls and photographs which illustrate one aspect of community life. These and the other memorials in the shire are ever present and visible in the daily activities of residents and are a constant reminder of those who sacrificed their lives. This published history of the memorials tells of the commitment of the community to remembering.
To quote Joe Hextall - the memorials are a way of remembering "what was lost; what was gained; and why".
Niles Elvery, Regional Coordinator, Q ANZAC 100, State Library of Queensland