Q ANZAC 100 visits Townsville
A recent trip to Townsville enabled the Q ANZAC 100 team to visit a number of heritage places including the Townsville Museum, where this image of the Townsville Harbour showing what it was like at the beginning of the First World War, was on display.
The Museum also revealed this unique artifact from life in Townsville during the Second World War. It is that ball gown worn by Mavis Cussons to the Patriotic Funds Hall ball held at the Townsville Showgrounds on August 28 1940. The organisers of the ball requested that attendees dress representing the industries in which they worked and as Mavis worked on the gossip section for the Townsville Bulletin, she arranged for her ball gown to be printed with the day's news by the newspaper and sewn specially for the evening. A full write up of the ball appeared in the Townsville Daily Bulletin, Friday August 30, 1940.
We also visited the Australian Army Museum of North Queensland (AAMNQ) at Jezzine Barracks, Kissing Point in Townsville, North Queensland which is housed in the refurbished 11th Brigade barracks buildings. AAMNQ 'collects, and exhibits objects and stories relating to the history of the Australian Army in North Queensland' (AAMNQ website) in the re-purposed facilities such as the drill hall and Officers mess. The journey through the museum begins in the Colonial era, through First and Second World Wars and all conflicts up to present day peace keeping operations. AAMNQ is one museum in an extensive network of army museums throughout Australia.
On entering visitors pass a brass sculpture depicting tunnelers at work in honour of the sacrifice made by Australian Tunnelers who served in the First World War. State Library has the collection of James Nicholas Murray from Emerald who served in D Company, 25th Infantry Battalion as surveyor for the tunneling operations.
By far, one of the most impressive honour boards is the City of Townsville Honour Board which was originally constructed in 1917. The board displays the names of people from Townsville and surrounding communities who served in the First World War as well as acknowledging those who paid the supreme sacrifice. Over 800 people enlisted from the Townsville region. After two fires and extensive restoration, the board was remounted at Jezzine Barracks in 1981. During restoration wood-grained laminated name plates were added to the Honour Board and while the original brass name plates are in the possession of AAMNQ they remain part of the museum collection.
The Second World War Honour Board for the City of Townsville is equally impressive honoring over 3500 people who enlisted in the Second World War from the region. It too required extensive restoration prior to its location in Jezzine Barracks.
In one of the cabinets, was a camera used in the First World War and is only identified by the initials "F.S." scratched on the front. It is a No. A1 Autographic Kodak Jr camera which were manufactured by Eastman Kodak between 1914 to 1927 and is perhaps it was one of those forbidden cameras owned by many soldiers.
Displays ,dioramas, trench art, honour Boards, medals and service men's stories come together to make a powerful museum experience at AAMNQ.
Currajong (Image courtesy Townsville Heritage Centre website)
One of the National Trust's other buildings, Currajong, was used as a RAAF Hospital during the Second World War, and wartime staff photographs and medals of the first commandant, Dr Yeates are on display. Currajong at war outlines the story.
The Q ANZAC 100 First World War Treasures White Gloves Experience, held at the Thuringowa Library in Townsville, attracted keen interest. Of special interest was the story of the Baxter men of Townsville.
At the Conservation Clinic, several people brought in items of interest including silk printed souvenirs.
While in Townsville, we conducted a Historypin workshop where a number of Townsville region collections were created to document contributions from the region to First World War activities.
Thanks to the staff of CityLibraries Townsville for their valuable assistance during these workshops.
Niles Elvery, Regional Coordinator, Q ANZAC 100, State Library of Queensland