Friday, September 20, 2013

Sepia Saturday: Peace

There used to be a town called Mologa. It developed to serve the land selectors that started arriving in the 1870s. Now the shops, churches, school and post office have almost gone. But the War Memorial remains and it records the names of sons of those selectors who served in two world wars.

The two photos below have been taken from almost the same position and you can see in the first some of the buildings that used to be there in the 1920s. Great-uncle Ray Leed was killed in France and Great-uncle George Leed served in France. Both are named on the memorial. In fact for such a small community there are a lot of names on the memorial and this is repeated all over Australia.

Mologa war memorial (Alford family album)
War Memorial, Mologa (2013) Photo: Tim Fitzgerald
http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/conflict/ww1/display/32659-mologa-war-memorial
Most towns and cities in Australia erected memorials after the first world war and they still hold an important place in our culture. They are the focus point for the ceremonies that are held each year to celebrate the volunteers who left to serve overseas. And the communities also planted memorial avenues of trees, installed memorial boards in halls, clubs and workplaces and built memorial halls, bridges and so on. The war had a huge impact on the peace time that followed.

Not far away from Mologa is the town of Mitiamo. At the time of the first world war it was bigger and busier than it is now but it hasn't disappeared like Mologa has, and the community at Mitiamo also installed a memorial. I remember reading somewhere that this memorial is unusual in that it has a female sculpted figure - presumably she represents something or other and is not just there to look pretty. She seems to be holding a basket of fruit or vegetables.

Grandpa Roy Phelan (at right in the photo below) served in France in WW1 and his name is on the memorial. And so are the names of his two sons, Neil and Keith, who served in WW2.

Mitiamo war memorial (Phelan family album)
Mitiamo war memorial (Phelan family album)
The photo above is interesting because it records the German machine gun that was also installed at the memorial. It is no longer there and I believe it was stolen.

Mitiamo memorial as it looks now.
More information here: http://en.tracesofwar.com/article/8643/War-Memorial-Mitiamo.htm
and here: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ausvsac/Mitiamo_War.htm
The theme for this week's Sepia Saturday was peace, as in a campaign for peace, but I don't have any campaigners in my photo collection. So I went for the 'peace after war' idea.  I suggest you march on over to see what other Sepians have to say about peace.



11 comments:

  1. A fine selection of memorials which quite rightly hold an important place.

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  2. Such memorials are also a regular part of the landscape of most towns and villages in this country as well. It is a pity that they are necessary, but a good thing that the sacrifice of those whom they recall is remembered.

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  3. Hi Lorraine - I enjoyed reading about the war memorials. I had to find a map http://goo.gl/maps/OikH1 -so I now know your towns are west of Echuca. I thought the early photograph of the war memorial compared with the present day most interesting.

    I have a book on War Trophies from World War 1. Billett, Bill War trophies : from the First World War 1914-1918. Kangaroo Press, East Roseville, N.S.W, 1999. http://trove.nla.gov.au/version/10568348 After the war guns captured by the AIF were presented to Australian towns. They had to sign an agreement to preserve them and appoint a committee. I think machine guns might have been handed in during World War 2 for melting down and contributing to that war's efforts but I am not sure and it will have varied by town. Theft might be the answer in the case of Mitiamo.
    Regards
    Anne

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  4. Nothing is quite so powerful as a war memorial. Names etched in marble or bronze really humanize war for those of us who never experienced it first hand.

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  5. Very thoughtful, even if it is a bit different to what you were suggesting you might do on Wednesday I think :-)

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  6. I've been admiring the metalwork on the support for that machine gun -- isn't that ironic? Beautiful wrought iron for a deadly machine?

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  7. The small suburban village where I grew up had a war memorial with names. There weren't even many people living there until after WWII. I don't think it is still there.

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  8. So sad to see small towns disappear as though they never existed.

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  9. I hadn't heard of Mologa. Was it a mining town?

    How sad to have 3 people from the one family die in wars.

    The photo of the Mitiamo war memorial with the gun is a beauty.

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  10. There's something about these pictures and the emptiness surrounding those monuments.
    Makes one wonder who would remember these fallen heroes [and the surviving ones too]
    if everybody is now long gone...
    Beautiful pictures!!
    I wonder if the Australian troops were well prepared for what was ahead
    or if they were strategically placed as "sacrificial lambs" or bait,
    as I'd rather not used the expression "cannon fodder"...
    The same could have been said of Canadian troops back then
    as they also suffered heavy casualties.
    :/~
    HUGZ

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  11. Interesting memorials, I also wonder what or who the female figure represents.

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I love to read your comments. Thankyou for your interest.

Lorraine

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