Sacrifice, Struggle and Sorrow

‘What a lovely, humane, sensitive, considered and considerate, beautiful and moving exhibition!’

‘Marvellous and heartbreaking …’

‘Given Glebe’s very mixed class profile (then and now), how did you balance the Pro and Anti views re war, conscription etc?’

This is some of the public response to the Society’s WW1 exhibition that ended on 23 October. The answer to all the above, and what made this exhibition unique, is the people of Glebe. The passage of time has made it possible for people to make available the most personal and intimate material. Those who wrote it are long since dead, and even those to whom they wrote are often no longer with us. These documents have a power and poignancy no statistics can match. They are about people just like us, whose lives were changed and challenged in a particularly dramatic way.

If you found seeing these photos and reading these letters moving, you can imagine what it was like to have them so generously offered by all kinds of present and former residents. The response to the Society’s appeal was quite overwhelming, and it is my greatest disappointment that we were able to include only a fraction of the memorabilia, supported by public documents and images from the State Library and Australian War Museum. Moreover, people who have seen the exhibition are now offering further material. Unfortunately, our funding does not give us the opportunity for further research, but we are considering ways to make the displays we have more widely known.

To the 70 volunteers who helped to organise, prepare and run the exhibition, profound thanks. The City gave us the South Hall, ideal for an exhibition of this kind, free of charge, and Historic Houses gave us free use of their display cabinets. And, of course, none of it would have been possible without the generous grant from Veterans’ Affairs.

No venture of this size and duration takes place without mishaps, and there were several moments when the organising group held their collective breath and hung onto the nearest firm object very tightly. However, most of the difficulties were overcome, and we feel that the final outcome was worth all the behind-the-scenes stress.

Lydia Bushell, Ted McKeown, Liz Simpson-Booker and Neil Macindoe – some of the organisers of the Society’s WW1 exhibition (image: Phil Young)
Lydia Bushell, Ted McKeown, Liz Simpson-Booker and Neil Macindoe – some of the organisers of the Society’s WW1 exhibition (image: Phil Young)

The Poppy Project

Those  who have visited the exhibition of Anzac memorabilia at Glebe Town Hall will have had an opportunity to view the tribute wall of hand-knitted poppies, each of which represented one of the 201 Glebe men who fell in World War 1.

Lydia Bushell first suggested the poppy tribute to the Heritage Subcommittee. Little did we realize quite what we were taking on but extraordinary ideas generate extraordinary effort and many generous people stepped up to help create this installation.

Very special thanks to:

  • Our Poppy Knitters
    • Jean Anderson
    • Lydia Bushell
    • Dinah Hodge
    • Roslyn Jehne
    • Jan Macindoe
    • Janice McAdam
    • Jenny Pockley
    • Elizabeth Sakker
    • Michael Slaytor
  • Our Sewing Bee and finishers
    • Alison McKeown
    • Jan Macindoe
    • Jan Petersen
    • Carole Herriman
    • Margaret Cody
    • Anne Owens
    • Robert Hannan
    • Peter Crawshaw
    • Susie Cleary
    • Jan Wilson
    • Neil Macindoe
  • Our Installers and tireless ladder-climbers
    • Ted McKeown
    • Rod Holtham

After all our hard work, it was salutary to stand back and see people moved to tears by the enormity of the loss of lives represented by the installation.

Lydia Bushell (image: Phil Young)
Lydia Bushell (image: Phil Young)