Robyn Peterson and Daun Clapperton who both have a strong attachment to Nanango and the South Burnett have spent many of hours compiling a database of War Heros. Robyn’s grandfather was one of the early settlers in South Nanango and Daun, through her husband who is a direct descendent of the Clappertons who owned the pastoral station Tarong - now the site of the Tarong Power Station.
Daun has always had a keen interest in genealogy and earlier this year (2014) she and her husband visited Jerusalem to research a family member. She has researched the Clapperton family with several visits to Scotland and is self-publishing a limited edition history for family members.
Robyn has a passion for the project and has taken on board the success of the data base and ensured its completion by April 2015.
Daun and Robyn were amongst the original volunteers at the Nanango Information Centre when it opened its door in July 2001. They began using the South Burnett Regional Council (SBRC) Nanango Library as their base when the Nanango Visitor Information Centre (VIC) relocated to Henry Street and became the South Burnett Energy and Visitor Information Centre.
Both women have worked (with assistance from other volunteers and VIC team Leader Mary Green) on many projects from 2001 – 2009 including documentation of the Nanango, Booie, Blackbutt, Charlestone Cemeteries and many lone graves from the area. This information is now available online via the Council website www.southburnett.qld.gov.au/web/guest/cemeteries.
Also researched were the World War II names on the Nanango Monument and a Certificate was obtained from the Nominal Roll for anyone who had served. They worked one day per week at the library and spent approximately forty hours per month researching and assisting walk in, email and postal enquiries as well as concentrating on their main project of cemetery research and checking World War 11 names on the Nanango Monument.
Why was the program undertaken?
In anticipation of the 2015 Centenary from 2010 research was focused on World War1, initially only for Nanango. However, at the request of the then Mayor of the South Burnett Regional Council David Carter, the area was extended to include the South Burnett Region (including the Cherbourg Community).
In the true spirit of ANZAC - Every Man Remembered - the girls readily agreed to the proposal and so began the mammoth endeavour of extracting the World War 1 histories from the cenotaphs and memorial honour boards and memorial plaques in , Blackbutt and Benarkin (Hill 60), Nanango, Maidenwell, Wengenville & District War Memorial, Kingaroy, Kumbia, Wooroolin, Proston, Hivesville, Wondai, Murgon and Cherbourg. Boondooma has a memorial and Bunya Mountains a Lone Pine Tree.Cherbourg is included in the South Burnett because of its geographic position. These monuments reveal the tragic loss of young men from small South Burnett communities during World War 1.
What did it involve/how was it done/when was it done/who was involved?
Copies of images of all the memorials were obtained and the painstaking task of recording each name began. As well as recording the individual names full service records were copied and filed alphabetically in the Nanango Library Regional Council Archives. At the annual 2013 South Burnett Regional Council Volunteer forum a display was set up outlining the project progress and requesting information. Of particular interest was the John (Jack Hunter) story – whose great nephew Michael Hunter is the Coordinator of the South Burnett Regional Council's Visitor Information Centres.
This enabled the girls to cross reference with information listed on the memorials and to check details such as battalion number and rank and where they enlisted and if the service person returned and several errors had been noted on some of the monuments. Also some personnel were listed on several monuments. Spelling also had to be verified, also the correct Christian names.
To view database click on the first letter of the heros last name below.
A poster was produced and distributed throughout the Region but to date the response has been limited because of the time factor and population changes. As the time draws nearer it is anticipated that interest will gather more impetus. A response was also called for through the local Country Focus Newspaper.Several other sites on the internet have been explored with positive results.
A delegation from the South Burnett were invited to visit Dodewaard in the Netherlands to honour Murgon Serviceman Patrick Tiernan who was shot down in his Halifax bomber on June 17, 1944. As an adjunct to this an invitation was extended from the Council to local residents to provide names of family members inscribed on the the Menin Gate or who are buried at Tyne Cot or the Buttes Cemetery at Polygon Wood for a poppy to be placed in their memory. Daun & Robyn were delighted that the data base was the Catalyst for the names put forward by historian and author Elizabeth Caffery.
- Francis Delta Atkinson, Nanango. 41st Battalion. 5.10. 1917. Menin Gate.
- (19 years)
- Wesley Buttsworth, Brooklands. 6681 17th Battalion. 9.10. 1917. Menin Gate.
- Harold Fortunatus Hoult, Nanango. 47th Battalion. 30.09.1917. Menin Gate.
- John Hunter, Nanango. 49th Battalion. 26.09.1917. Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke, Belgium.
- William McMonagle, Nanango. 16th Battalion. 27.09.1917. Menin Gate.
- (21 years)
- Edward Newman, Coominya. 9th Battalion. 17.11.1917. Menin Gate.
- Daniel Potter, Kunioon. 9th Battalion, 20.09. 1917. Menin Gate.
- Walter Preston, Nanango. 9th Battalion, 16.09.1916. Menin Gate.
- George Sealey, Nanango. 26th Battalion. 4.10.1917. Menin Gate.
- Edward Felix Tardent, Wynnum. 42nd Battalion. 31.07.1917. Menin Gate.
- Wesley Buttsworth, Brooklands. 6681 17th Battalion.
- 9.10. 1917. Menin Gate.
How the project illustrates valuable work in all fields of history & Cultural Heritage?
One of the most valuable aspects of the project was discovering the history attached to the name which revealed fascinating and sometimes disturbing aspects of Queensland history.
The project gives South Burnett residents the opportunity to honour family members who died during World War 1 .
Primary School children will be given the opportunity to participate in the Anzac Day Commemoration in 2015 by utilising the research /data base to choose a service person to honour by placing a Remembrance Cross at the memorials on 25 April 2015.
An important part of history & Culture is the recognition of all the people from Cherbourg Aboriginal Community who were willing to fight for their country. There are twenty nine names on the Honour board but a more telling fact which is documented on the DVD Black Diggers that men who were first accepted were then rejected because of racial differences – a sad reflection on the society of the day! Trooper Frank Fisher (Snr) enlisted in 11th Light Horse from Barambah Settlement Murgon,QLD Aust. However, his son Frank Fisher’s (Jn) attempt to follow in his father’s footsteps in 1940 was blocked on racial grounds. He is the paternal grandfather of Australian track athlete and Olympic gold medalist Cathy Freeman from mapping our anzacs.naa.gov.au
Activity inspires others to enjoy the value of history and heritage through volunteer work.
As the word has spread more & more community interest is being shown in the project. Daun and Robyn now spend two (2) days a week at the library and another Information Centre Volunteer is giving one day per week.
The online data base will not be user friendly for all age groups . To ensure all have access, hard copy books will be placed in all South Burnett Libraries to make easy access for those who are participating in various projects during this time. One such project is the special book honouring local World War I veterans. Council Communities portfolio spokesperson Cr Ros Heit is in charge of this project. Funding has been applied for and the Data base will be available for any student who wishes to write a short "biography" of a local World War I digger. The aim is to put faces and stories behind the names on the Honour Rolls throughout the region.
Community groups, Nanango Tourism and Development and Brisbane Valley Heritage Trails, have acknowledged the importance of the Data base for the completion of their projects for 2015 - a Calendar comprising of original paintings and a momento photo book by Elizabeth Caffery using the Nanango Data base Information as a reference.
Contribution to our understanding of the continuity of Queensland Society.
The project will be carried out in the spirit of "Remembrance" specifically to remember the generation of 1914-1918 who lived through the Great War or who were casualities on land, at sea or in the air. The consequence of so many people being removed from the work force in the small rural towns are predictable and well documented.
The South Burnett has a significant place in the history of Queensland with Nanango being in the top four of the towns in Queensland and indeed being older than Queensland being gazetted in 1848 and as such people throughout the State have early connection with the area. In the early World War 1 research it was noted that Oscar Mendelsohn (son of Saul – one of the first settlers in the town and grandfather of Ben Mendelsohn (Australia Actor) was born in Nanango. He and his brother Berrol enlisted but Berrol did not return but was Killed in Action – 20th July 1916, and was buried in the mass grave established by the German Army for Australian and British dead at Pheasant Wood, his identity disc returned to the British War Office. One of the men positively identified when the mass grave was found in 2007, and interred 2010 in the newly built Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery.
History continues and it is important to look to the past and the contribution that the early settlers made. Research such as conducted by these two volunteers and made readily available to all ages ensure that their understanding of Queensland Society continues. Without the commitment and dedication of volunteers Robyn Peterson and Daun Clapperton, from the examples given, it is evident that the result from this type of research has not only local and state but indeed world wide connections. They have researched 1200 names from all the South Burnett and Cherbourg Monuments and Honour Boards. It is impossible to give exact volunteer hours but a conservative estimate would be 2000 hours plus per year over the past two years.
The volunteers have been given the full support of the South Burnett Regional Council and were honoured to be asked to to place a wreath at the Nanango monument at the Anzac Day Commemoration in 2014.
"Without the commitment and dedication of volunteers Robyn Peterson and Daun Clapperton, it is evident that the result from this type of research has not only local and state but indeed world wide connections."
To view database click on the first letter of the heros last name below