Postings From the Front: Book & Westfield’s Exhibition

This year marks the centenary of some of the most wretched battles of World War I.

To commemorate Anzac Day 2017, Eastgardens Library has produced an exhibition that will be on display on Level 2 of Westfield Eastgardens, outside Hoyts cinemas, from 10-26 April.

Postings-From-The-Front-COVERThis exhibition portrays some of the local servicemen who volunteered to fight for King and Country. In November 2016 Bayside Council published a book titled Postings from the Front: the City of Botany Bay and World War I written by Anne Slattery, Jenny MacRitchie and Paula Grunseit. Postings examines the effect of the war on the local communities of Botany and Mascot and details the experiences of a number of local men – and women – during the Great War. Some, such as Tom Burtt and Robert Saunderson Hamilton, kept precious diaries of their wartime service.

Local Diggers fought in some of the most well-known battles of the Western Front, including the First Battle of Bullecourt on 11 April 1917. Australian casualties were over 3,000, with 1170 soldiers taken prisoner in just one day. The Second Battle of Bullecourt began on 3 May when the 2nd Division again attacked the Hindenburg Line. Two weeks of German counter attacks followed before the Allied forces succeeded in driving the Germans out of Bullecourt. Patrick Mealey was killed during the Second Battle of Bullecourt. Botany wool scourer, Herbert Wright had been killed in action on 23 March 1917 near Bapaume, France. He had arrived on the front line just four days earlier.

Thomas Burtt

Thomas (Tom) Burtt. Courtesy of Geoff Chegwyn

Other significant battles of 1917 were the Battle of Messines in June and the Battles of Menin Road and Polygon Wood in September. Francis Goold of Lauriston Park was killed shortly before the Battle of Messines on 31 May 1917. Other battles followed, with Passchendaele, and the legendary attack on Beersheba by the 4th Light Horse Brigade, both occurring in October 1917. Tanner George Hayden of Botany earned the Military Medal for ‘conspicuous gallantry’ on the Western Front during October 1917.

To discover more about our local World War I servicemen and women, visit Westfield Eastgardens to see our exhibition or purchase a copy of our book.

Postings from the Front: the City of Botany Bay and World War I ($30) is available for sale or loan from the following Bayside libraries:-

  • Eastgardens Library, Shop 176, Ground floor, Westfield’s Eastgardens
  • Mascot Library, 2 Hatfield St., Mascot
  • Rockdale Library, 444-446 Princes Highway, Rockdale

For further details please email:- museum@bayside.nsw.gov.au or phone 9366 3863.

Jenny MacRitchie, Heritage Librarian

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