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Soldiers at Wharf

Soldiders and civilians at Murwillumbah Wharf ready to travel to Brisbane, 1914. M19-3

When war broke out in 1914 the world was irreversibly changed, the Tweed Valley was not spared. Australia had received it's instructions to take part in the Imperial defence. Thousands of men from the Tweed were called to serve overseas, many never returned. Murwillumbah became a hive of activity, with all men north of Grafton arriving by train to catch boats to Tweed Heads, then on to Brisbane.

The Museum will commemorate the 100th Anniversary of WWI by telling the stories of the local men and women who served their country overseas and on the home front.

Memorial Plaques

Memorial plaques
Memorial Plaques were given to the next-of-kin of servicemen and women killed in World War I. Designed and produced in Britain, they were issued to commemorate all those who died from the British Commonwealth and were accompanied by a Memorial Scroll. The plaques were cast in bronze, with the name individually applied. No rank was given as the intention was to show equality of sacrifice of all those who had lost their lives.

The first plaques, of approximately 60,000 issued in Australia, were distributed in 1922. The plaques you see before you belonged to local people who lost their lives serving their country during this time.

The Museum holds a number of memorial plaques and continues to research them. In the picture above you can see the memorial plaques of the following men:

John Fogarty
John Leo Fogarty was the son of a dairy farmer at Doon-Doon. The Fogarty family settled in the area in about 1910. Leo used to help his father fall scrub, and use the family's bullock team to haul logs to Byangum. He was killed in action in France, 1917. Donated by Ida Daly, 2010. MUS2010.8.2

Leonard Hines
Leonard Hines was a farm laborer from Murwillumbah. He was killed in action in france, 1916, aged 20. Donated by the Murwillumbah RSL, 1990. L0470-90

William Henry Kyle
William Kyle was a farmer in Murwillumbah. He was killed in action in France, 1917, aged 28. Donated by Win Vickerman, 2001. MUS2001.38.3

James Leslie Holmes
James Holmes worked as a wheelwright at A. Latters in Murwillumbah. He was killed in action in France, 1916, aged 22. Donated by Clare Hewitson, 1997. MUS1997.98.2

Trench art

Trench art
These objects were likely made by men serving during WWI and are referred to as ‘Trench Art’.

Items like these were made to pass time while waiting for orders. They were made with what was at hand, empty shell casings, bullets, and other bits of scrap metal. They are sometimes beautifully engraved with intricate designs, or simple inscribed with the place they were made.

Top left: Small knife made from bullets, donor unknown. MUS2007.127
Top right: Engraved shell casing, donated by Arthur Flanaghan, 1990. MUS1990.35
Bottom left: Letter opener, inscribed 'Bapaume', donated by M. Anderson. T0109-99
Bottom right: Ashtray made from shell casing, donor unknown. E0067MB

The Murwillumbah War Chest

War Chest
The Murwillumbah War Chest group, C.1914. ID: 37206

The local War Chest group consisted of mostly women, who raised funds through raffles, horse racing, gambling, sweeps, and dance events. Local women also formed clubs to knit socks, mittens, kneepads, and face washers for troops.

Murwillumbah War Chest badge, donated by M. Small, 1989. MUS1989.60.2

In 1917 the Murwillumbah chapter sent 750 Christmas parcels to men in the trenches.

The Museum also holds this dice ball in it's collection, used by Pop Fitzsimmons to raise money for the War Chest, possibly through a gambling game.

Dice ball
This 'Dice Ball' was used to raise funds for the Murwillumbah War Chest during WWI. Donated by the Fitzsimmons Family. NK295-98

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