Journal #59 – December 2018

The Armistice 1918

When news of the Armistice came through on the night of November 11, the people of the Manning (and all over Australia) poured out of their houses to celebrate the end of the “war to end all wars”. After the initial euphoria had passed, people went to their churches to sing “Te Deum”, the ancient hymn of thankfulness, and to commemorate the loss of so many fine young men from their community.

At the Front After the Armistice: Steward Shepard

Twenty year old Stewart Shepard arrived on the Western Front in France just before the Armistice was signed. Following its signing, he remained with Australian troops, as they continued their eastern advance and the German troops withdrew from Belgium. Stewart returned to Australia and spent 30-years as shire clerk on the Manning Shire Council.

The Killabakh Memorial to John Wollard

Following the 1918 Armistice, the first memorial monument established in the Manning Valley was in the small village of Killabakh in the Upper Manning Valley in 1921. It was unique to the Valley in that it was a monument to a single soldier – John “Jack” Wollard – such was the respect held for him, not only in Killabakh but throughout the Valley.

Taree Soldiers Memorial Clock

Following the Armistice, Taree was no different to many other country communities in their desire to establish a memorial to the many young men who had given their lives in foreign fields. The real problem was the form the memorial should take, how much it should cost and who should pay for it.

The Wingham Soldiers Memorial Hall

During the war, Wingham volunteers built a cottage for war widow, Cordelia Thiele. Following the Armistice, Wingham’s desire to establish a soldiers memorial and the need for a town hall merged. The main problem became financing the style of memorial the town desired, and who should pay for it?

John Allan of Comboyne: “It Is My Duty”

Jack Allan was among one of the first settlers in the Comboyne district. He enlisted in 1915 at an age when he could have been excused from such a duty. He suffered wounds on two occasions which entitled him to a home passage, but he returned to the Western Front instead. He was fatally wounded a month before the Armistice.

The Spanish Flu 1918-1920

As World War 1 was drawing to a close, a virulent strain of influenza, which became known as the Spanish Flu, broke out – its origin is debated – and spread world wide, variously estimated as killing 50 million people. Highly contagious, the disease eventually reached the Manning Valley.

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