In August 2014, the world marked the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. By the end of the First World War there were very few people in the countries that took part, who remained unaffected. The war reached out and touched almost everyone’s life in some way or other.
As you will have noted from the media there will be a number of events associated with the anniversary over the period from 2014 to 2019 to mark Australia’s involvement in this great European war. There will also be a number of publications presenting new perspectives on the events of 100years ago.
Significance to Schools of Arts
By the time of the First World War, the School/Institutes movement in NSW was at its peak both in terms of number of schools/institutes and their level of activity.
During war, soldiers were farewelled and welcomed back home in the local School or Institute Hall, patriotic and fundraising events, and groups meeting to knit socks, to knot camouflage nets or to pack “comfort” parcels for soldiers serving overseas and prisoners of war all used the School’s facilities.
In many localities, the School or Institute was the only public building beside the local public school [the other common site of WWI memorials]. Therefore, many of the local War Memorials or Rolls of Honour were located in and/or co-located with the local School or Institute.
Moreover, because of an outpouring of patriotic fervor some Schools or Institutes were renamed as the Soldiers’ Hall and the some new Schools of this period were built as Soldiers’ Memorial Schools of Arts; for example Campbelltown, Guildford, Liverpool and Sutherland to name but a few.
Progress of Project
At the AMISA 2013 AGM, Roger Morris “tabled a proposal for the collection, collation and the publication (on our new website and possibly in booklet form) the illustrated details of local WWI memorials that are in and/or co-located with a School of Arts or a Mechanics Institute.”
Letters were sent to some 80 schools and institutes believed to have such memorials. Submissions have been received and, over 2014, the materials will be collated, written up and formatted for publication in 2015.
Robert Parkinson and Roger Morris are the Principal Researchers and are coordinating a team of AMISA volunteers who will work on this project.
NB: Submissions have closed for this project.
Anticipated Launch Date
The obvious and most appropriate date for the launch of the publication would be around ANZAC Day 2015 – the 100th Anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli.
Image Credit: Bellingen Literary Institute – Memorial Hall stained glass window, photo courtesy of the management-committee)