CLOSE to 100 years ago Private Michael Bunworth’s possessions were returned to his family after he was killed in World War I. Among the items was a pocket watch, encased in a gold cover, and inscribed on the inside with the words Gottf. Donarth, Bernsdorf. But the watch didn’t belong to Private Bunworth. [caption id="attachment_273" align="alignnone" width="600"] MISSING: Macarthur's Pat and Jack Bunworth at the town's war memorial. Mr Bunworth holds the watch that has been in his family's possession since World War I. Picture: Rachael Houlihan[/caption] Today, the watch, which still ticks, is in the Bunworth family’s possession. Michael’s nephew Jack Bunworth, of Macarthur is the caretaker. But he and his wife Pat want to turn back the clock and return the watch to its rightful owner. “Michael was killed in 1918 and the watch came home among his effects,” Mr Bunworth said. “My father had them and he died in 1949 and I’ve had them ever since. I wound the clock up the other day and it still went. My dad told me my uncle took it off a fallen German soldier.” Mr Bunworth said he wanted to return the watch to the family of its original owner. “What will become of it otherwise?,” he asked. “I’d like them to have it back. If it was ours, we would like to get it back. It’s family history. Hopefully we can find them and they will be happy they have something.” His wife of 61 years shares his eagerness to to reunite the watch with a German family. “It would be lovely for the family, if it’s possible, to have the watch back,” Mrs Bunworth said. Michael Bunworth was killed when a shell burst in the trench where he was located. He is buried at the Outtersteene Communal Cemetery Extension in Bailleul, France. His brother Frank, who was also from Byaduk, was also killed in action. The Bunworths’ story features in a new short film, Macarthur: Stories of Sacrifice, which will premiere on Thursday. The 24-minute movie traces the town’s efforts during World War I and explores two families’ connections with soldiers from Macarthur. The First World War was one of the most significant events in the 20th century, and residents of the small town have united to share their memories. Last year the Macarthur Returned Services League (RSL) sub branch applied for a grant through the ANZAC Centenary Community Grants program. The project was to assist people to explore the history of local soldiers and nurses who enlisted from Macarthur and its surrounds during 1914 to 1918. The Bunworths have been part of the project working with residents Maryanne Martin and Terry Sim. Ms Martin, project facilitator, worked with the Macarthur RSL sub branch and is also helping the Bunworths explore ways to try and locate the descendants of the watch. She said in 2014 she worked on a project for the Heywood RSL about Condah’s experience during the war years. Ms Martin’s grandmother came from Condah. “That project went well and the Macarthur RSL wanted to do their own,” she said. “They asked what they could do and we applied for a government grant. We also got funding from the Victorian Veterans Counsel. We applied to tell digital stories and also produce a book.” She said the book was 80 per cent completed and the project had taken a year. “The book still has scope for more stories to be included,” she said. As well as the Bunworth brothers, the story of soldier Cecil Twist is also explored. Cecil was born in 1895 and was one of the youngest to sign up for the war effort in Macarthur. His relative Pauline Trevena investigated her family history for the project. Ms Trevena discovered Cecil was often in trouble in the army and sometimes his pay was forfeited due to bad behaviour. He was killed on September 18,1917 while fighting on the Western Front. Ms Martin said Macarthur’s school also became involved in the project. “I went to the Macarthur Primary School and the grade five and six students were researching about the war,” she said. “We held a workshop last July about how to use Trove bad how to look up a soldiers records.” She said Macarthur was a small but vibrant town during the war years, and every time a soldier would leave, a farewell celebration would be held. The conscription debate divided residents and in the October 1916 referendum the community voted ‘yes’ 165 to 143. At the following year’s referendum in December residents voted ‘no’ with 323 against and 188 in favour. The change was consistent across Victoria. Ms Martin said interest in the film around the town had been high. “Tom Lowe from Polygraph Productions has done a fantastic job,” she said. “It includes footage from the Australian War Memorial archives.” The film will be launched on Thursday at the Macarthur Primary School from 6pm. The premiere is open to the public.
Applications open for 2016 Fromelles and Pozières commemorations July 2016 will mark 100 years since the Battles of Fromelles and Pozières on the Western Front, and from today Australians will be able to apply to attend the services in France to commemorate these important events as part of the Anzac Centenary. [caption id="attachment_273" align="alignnone" width="600"] Cobbers sculpture by Peter Corlett from Melbourne. The sculpture is dedicated to the men who fought and fell in the Battle of Fromelles on 19th and 20th July 1916.[/caption] “The commemorations in 2016 will be poignant and moving services for Australians remembering 100 years since the Battle of Fromelles, Australia’s first major battle in France, and Pozières, where Australia sustained 23,000 casualties over seven weeks,” the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, Stuart Robert, said. “To ensure safe attendance at small cemetery and memorial sites, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) is managing a registration process open only to Australian citizens and permanent residents seeking attendance passes for the services, available only until all passes are allocated. “From 12 noon today applications will open for attendance passes to attend commemorative services at Fromelles on 19 July 2016, and at Pozières on 23 July 2016. Those interested should visit the Department’s www.anzaccentenary.gov.au website for full details on the services and how to apply. “These services will be a special event for many Australians, particularly those with a family member who served in these battles, and I encourage anyone interested in attending to register early,” Mr Robert said. As new information becomes available, the DVA websites www.dva.gov.au and www.anzaccentenary.gov.au will be updated and Tour Operators will receive further confirmed information and updates.
To mark the centenary of the First World War, the University that bears General Sir John Monash's name offers free, open, online learning. A team of world-renowned historians have designed a course that will teach you how to use new digital archives to discover your own Anzac story. Take a virtual tour of First World War battlefields, recover the lost voices of the Anzac experience and gain a better understanding of how the First World War changed us all. View the Trailer Visit One Hundred Stories online
We have just added some great new resources to help students, teachers and local communities commemorate Anzac Day and the Centenary of World War 1. These resources explore:
See all of the available eStudies units
- The Landing at Gallipoli – what actually happened on 25 April 2015?
- The Home Front during the First World War
- Connecting with and commemorating the Centenary of Anzac – how can you commemorate 1915?
See all of the available eStudies units
Led by Professor Mick Dodson, the 'Serving our Country: a history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the defence of Australia’ will look at the historical contributions of Aboriginal and TSI people in the Australian defence and auxiliary services form the Boer War to 2000. Download the PDF to read more.
The Heywood RSL and Heywood and District Secondary College hosted a local launch of the pilot Centenary School Link Program (CSLP) in December 2014. The school link program encourages schools in France and Belgium to partner with schools in Australia to commemorate the Centenary of World War 1 in evocative and lasting ways. Heywood has established a partnership with College Louis Pasteur in Nesle, France. You can visit a special website to see the research that students are undertaking to discover the impact of World War 1 upon their respective communities. Download the PDF to read more.
By RACHAEL HOULIHAN THE STANDARD (Warrnambool) CONDAH celebrated its connection to World War I with more than 60 people enjoying a night of music and a feature film. Tim Gurry, from Ryebuck Media, screened his 30-minute film called ‘Walking In The Footsteps of The Condah Anzacs’. [caption id="attachment_311" width="280" align="alignleft"] Dennis and John Turner and Terry Sim belt out a popular tune.[/caption][caption id="attachment_313" width="280" align="alignright"] Tim Gurry and Kevin Manning do a rendition of the popular and jovial World War 1 tune 'Dink Di'.[/caption]
Organiser Maryanne Martin said the film was very well received. “It was very moving as it followed soldiers from the community who had gone to war,” she said. [caption id="attachment_315" align="alignleft" width="280"] Maryanne Martin, event coordinator shares a happy memory with local artist Nita Baker.[/caption][caption id="attachment_316" align="aligncenter" width="280"]Heywood RSL proudly supported the event.[/caption]
“Personally (it was) very moving for me as one of the soldiers followed was my great-uncle Norman ‘Scotty’ McLeod who was killed on May 31, 1918, having survived Gallipoli and two-and-a-half years on the Western Front to be killed by a shell whilst sleeping in a barn behind the lines. “To see his grave and have Tim place a stone there for our extended family was really special.” The film explored the graves of some of the Condah soldiers who died on the Western Front during World War I. Of the 42 soldiers who enlisted from the Condah area, 12 died on the Western Front, including a large number of indigenous soldiers. Guests enjoyed meals similar to that likely to have been served in 1914-18. Mr Gurry also sang a song that his great grandfather had sung in the Condah Hall on December 19, 1914. “It was called There’s A Land,” Ms Martin said. “Originally the song was sung for a war fund-raising event.” [caption id="attachment_317" align="alignleft" width="280"] Guests enjoy the music and the film.[/caption][caption id="attachment_314" align="alignright" width="270"] Laura Bell, daughter of Amos Lovett, a veteran of both world wars, sings 'Why can't we have a rag about Australia?'[/caption][caption id="attachment_318" align="alignright" width="280"] Condah and district residents enjoy patriotic songs of World War 1.[/caption]
The Ryebuck team has just returned from attending the very moving Anzac Day ceremonies on the Western front France – at Villers-Brettoneux, Bullecourt and Poziers. It was great to see so many Australians, young and old, in attendance at the dawn service at the Australian National War Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux. We filmed the major sites along the Australian Remembrance Trail and visited a number of local schools to see if they would like to be part of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs sponsored Centenary School Link Program (CSLP). The CSLP is a pilot project initially linking some 12 schools in Australia with 12 in France and Belgium. The schools have been especially selected because of their links with local communities from which soldiers and nurses volunteered to serve on the Western Front. We will develop resources to support and promote the program including a short film that will profile two communities at war through the experiences of individual soldiers. The communities are Condah (Western District in Victoria) and Villers-Bretonneux / Bullecourt (Western Front in France). The program will hopefully become a model for other schools to establish links during the World War 1 centenary years 1914 – 1918 and beyond.
Anzac Day 2014 Villers-Bretonneux France
Anzac Day 2014 Bullecourt France
Monuments and cemeteries on the Western Front in France and Belgium
Ryebuck Media was privileged to film a facilitated community conversation about the experience of the small Victorian community of Condah during World War 1. The conversation took place on April 11 2014 and helped participants learn more about what happened in this community during the war. It also uncovered the stories of those who served in the war, as well as those who stayed at home. Each participant present was provided with the following booklet to assist their participation in the conversation. The questions for the conversation can be found in the booklet (PDF) on page 6. The conversation was hosted by Heywood RSL sub-branch and was made possible through the Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program. [caption id="attachment_273" align="alignnone" width="360"] Some of the participants gathered for a photo outside the historic Condah Hall. This hall was used for recruiting campaigns and fundraising events during World War 1.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_274" align="alignnone" width="360"] Event organiser Maryanne Martin visits the grave of David Millard, Condah cemetery, to place flowers. Millard was gassed during the war but just managed to get home and died in October 1918.[/caption]
The music performed by the Blackburn High School Band welcomed veterans, their families, VIPs and 250 school children from as far afield as Sale to the 72nd Anniversary Ceremony of the Darwin Defenders at the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance on Tuesday 19th February 2014. This annual ceremony is to remember the sacrifice and courage of the members who served and died during the attacks on Australia especially Darwin, during 1942 – 1945. Special Guests included:
- The Honourable Alex Chernov AC QC, Governor of Victoria
- Air-Vice Marshall Chris Spence AO (Rtd), Chairman of Shrine Trustees
- Senator Helen Kroger, representing Federal Government
- Councillor Ken Ong, City of Melbourne
- Mrs Kim Furnish, US Consular Chief
- Mr Hidenobu, Consul General of Japan
- Lady Anna Cowen accompanied by Commander Herb Kriloff & his daughter Alix Bradfield
Darwin Defenders 1942-1945 Commemoration Ceremony will be held at the Shrine of Remembrance, on February 19 2014, the 72nd anniversary of the day that Darwin was bombed and war came to Australia. The ceremony will honour those who served and those who died during the attacks on Darwin during 1942 - 1945. It is an opportunity for veterans, their families, dignitaries and school students from across Melbourne to participate in a moving ceremony that aims to remind us all of the cost of preserving peace and democracy in Australia. For more information visit our Get Involved page. Download Program (PDF) [caption id="attachment_214" align="alignleft" width="400"] Darwin Defenders Commemorative Ceremony at the Shrine of Remembrance[/caption]
Karen Sweeney Hamilton Spectator 2 November 2013 Condah’s First World War service men and women are set to be remembered in a ceremony next year marking the 100th anniversary of start of World War One. But families of the Victorian town’s veterans have been left without an honour roll after the honour board went missing from the town hall 10 or more years ago. Amateur historian Maryann Martin said while commemorations could still be held it would be nice to have the names of the region’s service mean and women on display. ‘It is coming up next year to 100 years since the outbreak of World war One so there will be different Anzac commemorations held all over the place,’ she said. ‘I’m hoping to run one in Condah with the RSL in Heywood and it would be good to find the honour roll.’ Ms Martin said he great uncle’s name appeared on the missing board. ‘My grandmother grew up at Condah and her eldest brother was killed on the Western Front,’ she said. ‘I’ve been doing some research and he’s quite an interesting character. He had poems printed in the Spectator sent from Gallipoli, poems about the conscription debate. I want to find the board so he’s not forgotten. With no board there is nothing to remember him or anyone else from Condah.’ Condah Hall Committee president Graham Thompson said the board had been taken down from the hall when it was painted a decade or more ago. We tried to make made some enquiries back then but didn’t come up with anything,’ he said. Heywood RSL president Lyall Saunders said the Wallacedale honour board was also missing. We’re hoping someone will read about it and say they’ve got one in their wardrobe or somewhere,’ he said. [caption id="attachment_206" align="alignleft" width="377"] Maryanne Martin with concerned citizens at the Condah hall.[/caption]
Australian visitors to Belgium seeking a military history experience are set to benefit from a new interpretive centre that opened in Ploegsteert, Belgium on 9 November. Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, said the interpretive centre, Plugstreet 14-18 experience, depicts the experiences of soldiers and civilians in the Ploegsteert area during the First World War. “The centre’s cutting-edge digital displays tell the story of Australia’s first large-scale action in Belgium, the June 1917 Battle of Messines,” Minister Ronaldson said. “The Third and Fourth Australian Divisions, alongside the New Zealand Division and supported by British troops, played a key role in the week-long battle, the success of which prepared the way for the opening of the Third Battle of Ypres six weeks later. “Australian and British soldiers alike commonly referred to Ploegsteert as ‘Plugstreet’, a title that still resonates today and is reflected in the centre’s name.” Australia suffered some 6,800 casualties, killed and wounded in the Battle, 78 of whom lie in the nearby Toronto Avenue Cemetery, the only all-Australian cemetery in Belgium, and one of only two all-Australian cemeteries on the entire Western Front. The centre sits within Ploegsteert Wood, adjacent to the Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing and marks the completion of the final part of the Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front site in Belgium. The Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front is a commemorative trail highlighting key sites along the Western Front that allows visitors to interpret the Australian experience of war. An overview of Australian Remembrance Trail sites is available here. [caption id="attachment_203" align="alignleft" width="400"] Plugstreet 14-18 experience[/caption]
As we approach Remembrance Day this year, Australians are encouraged to pause for a minute’s silence to remember all men and women who have served our nation. Traditionally, Australians wear a red poppy and pause at 11am on 11 November to pay their respects to those who have put their lives on the line for their country. As in past years, DVA has developed a commemorative poster for Remembrance Day that will be available in late October. The theme of this year’s poster is the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War armistice. A wide range of resources are also available to help teach Australians about the history of Remembrance Day and how to organise a ceremony.
Australians planning to attend Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli in 2015 will soon be able to apply for the ballot. The Anzac Commemorative Site at Gallipoli can safely, securely and comfortably accommodate 10,500 people. In 2015, this will comprise places for 8,000 Australians, 2,000 New Zealanders and up to 500 official representatives of the countries that served in the Gallipoli campaign. Some of the places available to Australians will be reserved for special representatives including: widows of Australian First World War veterans, direct descendants of veterans of the Gallipoli campaign, the veteran community and secondary school students. The remaining places will be available for all Australians. For more information on ballot eligibility and the application process, visit www.gallipoli2015.dva.gov.au.
DVA welcomes the new Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, who was sworn in on 18 September 2013. Minister Ronaldson has also been appointed as the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of Anzac and the Special Minister of State. Minister Ronaldson said that, "it is a true honour to serve Australia’s veterans and their families. I want to learn from them, hear their concerns and do everything within my power to give them the support they so deserve." Minister Ronaldson has had a long history in politics, beginning his public service career as a councillor for the City of Ballarat in 1981. He has also spent time as the Federal Member for Ballarat, and held appointments of Parliamentary Secretary, the Minister for Transport and Regional Development, Chief Government Whip and Senator for Victoria. Prior to the 2013 election he was the Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader of the Opposition on the Centenary of Anzac and Shadow Special Minister of State (2007-2010).
Shrine of Remembrance Melbourne The 2013 commemoration on 4th September was once again well-attended with hundreds of school children taking part. The Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir and Army Band performed beautifully and the student presentations provided a memorable highlight. Students from secondary schools paid tribute to the Army nurses, the Australian Women's Army Service, radio operators, clerical workers, civilian workers and members of the Voluntary Aid Detachment. Dr Rosalind Hearder's keynote adress reminded us all of the wonderful work of women on the home front during World War 2. The floral tributes, Last Post, national anthem and chaplain's blessing concluded what is a key commemorative event in Australia's military history.
The Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program, providing $125,000 per electorate, will enable and empower communities across Australia to commemorate the Centenary of Anzac in their own way. Grant funding will be available in 2013-14. The Australian Government’s Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program assists and encourages communities across Australia to undertake their own Anzac Centenary projects that commemorate the service and sacrifice of Australian servicemen and women in the First World War. The program was announced by the then Government on 24 April 2012. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) is responsible for administering the program. The Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program is a key element of the Australian Government’s Anzac Centenary program through which funding of up to $125,000 is available for each Federal Member of Parliament (MP) to support projects in their electorate commemorating the First World War. Click here for more information.
The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance. No words can better describe the ethos of the Returned & Services League of Australia (RSL) or the seriousness with which our members take the obligation of Australian Governments of ensuring the ongoing security and defence of our nation and the Australian people. Click here to view the full paper.