Q ANZAC 100 visit to Roma

Roma Heroes Avenue

Roma Heroes Avenue

The Q ANZAC 100 team had the privilege to visit Roma late last year to run the Q ANZAC 100 regional workshops at the Roma Library.

Roma is the home of the heritage listed Roma Heroes Avenue to honour the local fallen soldiers. With the original plantings undertaken in 1918, more trees have been planted in side streets as further information becomes available.

Roma's Avenue of Trees plaque for Charles Coley

Roma's Avenue of Trees plaque for Charles Coley

The main avenue passes along Wyndham Street and into Bungil Street leading to the cenotaph which is located in Roma's Memorial Park.

Roma Memorial Park plaque

Roma Memorial Park plaque

Roma cenotaph

Roma cenotaph

In Bungil Street is the old Roma State School, also heritage listed, and was used as a hospital during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1919 which followed the First World War.

Old Roma State School

Old Roma State School

Plaques have been placed at each tree providing information about that particular soldier and the Roma & District Historical Society holds details of all the servicemen represented.

While in Roma we visited the Roma State College and St John's Catholic School where Year 9 classes were able to see and handle some primary source materials relating to First World War and contribute to their understanding of this period in our history.

White Gloves at Roma State College

White Gloves at Roma State College

A number of history societies were represented at the workshop, including Roma & District Family History Society (Roma History Lodge), Chinchilla Museum, Miles Historical Village and Museum, Juandah Folk Museum and Meandarra ANZAC Memorial Museum. Each of these organisations is the custodian of unique First World War stories relating the district.

One workshop participant from the Juandah Folk Museum recently compiled a commemorative publication: Boys from the bush: Juandah District. Joycelyn Baker collated  stories of 46 servicemen from Juandah, Gulugaba, Giligulgul, Gurulmundi and Woleebee Creek. Looking down the list of names, the entries for brothers George, Lewes, William and Frederick Golden struck me - Four sons of Frederick and Agnes of Bundi Station near Yeulba. Fortunately three of the 'boys' came home, only leaving Frederick behind having been wounded in action in October 1918. The other three continued pastoral pursuits on their return with George and Lewes becoming graziers and William a property manager.

Private Lewes Golden, one of the soldiers photographed in The Queenslander Pictorial, supplement to The Queenslander, 1918

Private Lewes Golden, one of the soldiers photographed in The Queenslander Pictorial, supplement to The Queenslander, 1918

Joycelyn has since been nominated by Juandah Heritage for a Senior Cultural Citizen award to be presented on Australian Day for her work in researching the soldiers. Congratulations Joycelyn.

During our workshops, it came to light that Joycelyn also had a connection to an unique letter held at the Queensland State Archives. She is the daughter of Basil Stubbs who wrote a letter to the Lieutenant-Governor of Queensland expressing his desire to help with the war effort. This letter is featured on the Queensland Government's ANZAC Centenary website where you can listen to the letter being read aloud by a similarly aged 15 year old.

Joycelyn Baker pointing out the name of Basil Stubbs on his letter written to the Lieutenant-Governor.

Joycelyn Baker pointing out the name of Basil Stubbs on his letter written to the Lieutenant-Governor.

FURTHER READING:

Niles Elvery, Regional Coordinator, Q ANZAC 100, State Library of Queensland

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