World War 1 (1914-1918)
This is just a small sample of what is on display at the museum.
Click on images to see larger view.
The 'Warry' Bugle.
This bugle is part of an incredible story.
Towards the end of the war, a soldier spotted a piece of metal partly covered with mud. It was this bugle inscribed "Presented by R.S. Warry, Maryborough, to 2nd
Rfts, 42nd Btn, June 1916". The soldier read the inscription and asked Stan Warry, who was standing nearby, if R.S. Warry was any relation. “He’s my father”. Stan
Stan bought the bugle back to Australia and it was later presented to the Maryborough Central State School. Now on loan to the Museum, the bugle is only removed to
play the 'Last Post' and 'Reveille' at the school on Anzac Day each year.
Furphy Water Cart
The word “furphy”, which means a story of doubtful accuracy, originated in the Army camp at Broadmeadows, north of Melbourne in 1914, after the outbreak of WWI.
Water carts were used to deliver water to camp kitchens and latrines. The driver of the cart would be questioned by the soldiers as to the latest happenings and he
would invariably be the carrier of camp gossip which would be based on rumours. Thus the word Furphy rapidly became a synonym for suspect information or rumour.
The tanks were first manufactured by the Furphy Company at Shepparton in Victoria in the 1880’s and continued production for about 100 years.
The first end castings were plain, followed by an inscription reading "Furphy" at the top end of the plate. Shortly after this was changed to read "J. Furphy, maker,
Shepparton". The value of advertising was recognised and raised lettering listing the products of John Furphy was added.
The strange writing is not Arabic, but a Pitman's shorthand inscription which translated tells the reader that "Water is the gift of God, but beer is a concoction of the
devil, don't drink beer."
In 1942 this was changed slightly to read "Water is the gift of God, but beer and whisky are concoctions of the devil, come and have a drink of water" which has since
become the more popular, recited version.
Also in 1942, William added a modified version of the saying attributed to W M Hughes, the prime minister of Australia, together with an illustration of a stork holding
a baby in traditional fashion.
The statement, also in shorthand, read "Produce and populate or perish." There were numerous variations to the words cast on the ends produced over the years.
The Museum’s Furphy water cart is on loan from Maryborough collector, Mr Neville Lindley.
Private Henry Martin was hit by shrapnel in the left side breast pocket of his tunic, in which he carried his razor, pay book, wallet and steel mirror.
The shrapnel ball was deflected from his heart and entered the right side of his chest.
He returned to Australia and 10 years later had the shrapnel removed from near his spine in the Maryborough hospital.
See the display of the razor and other items with holes in them from the shrapnel and also the ball which was removed from Henry.
Sergeant John William Warrener
Will Warrener was nearly 21 when he enlisted at Warwick in 1915.
He arrived in Egypt on the 25th May 1916 and he, and others, in the 5th Light Horse Regiment thinking
they would not see any action, transferred to the artillery in order to serve in France.
In the last stages of the Passchendaele battles, Will was mortally wounded on 14th October, 1917.
His first reaction was to write a farewell message to his family in his diary.
The blood (or mud) stained entry is on display at the Museum. Letters written by Sister Griffith who nursed him are also on display.
Read his final message to his family. See where a flower was pressed in the pages of his diary and left an image on the pages.
Mural: World War 1 Australian soldiers at Peronne in France.
Painted by Blake Greer.
Vickers Machine Gun
Was a water-cooled .303 inch calibre used from around 1912 up until production ceased in 1968. It was fitted in fighter planes such as the Sopwith Camel during
WW1. The guns were last operated by the Australian Army in Korea.
A bit of history ....
For Australia, as for many nations, the First World War remains the most costly conflict in terms of deaths and casualties. From a population of fewer than five million,
416,809 men enlisted, of which over 60,000 were killed and 156,000 wounded, gassed, or taken prisoner.
The outbreak of war was greeted in Australia, as in many other places, with great public enthusiasm. In response to the overwhelming number of volunteers, the
authorities set exacting physical standards for recruits. Yet, most of the men accepted into the army in August 1914 were sent first to Egypt, not Europe, to meet the
threat which a new belligerent, the Ottoman Empire (Turkey), posed to British interests in the Middle East and the Suez Canal.
After four and a half months of training near Cairo, the Australians departed by ship for the Gallipoli peninsula, with troops from New Zealand, Britain, and France. The
Australians landed at what became known as ANZAC Cove on 25 April 1915 and established a tenuous foothold on the steep slopes above the beach. During the early
days of the campaign, the allies tried to break through Turkish lines, while the Turks tried to drive the allied troops off the peninsula. Attempts on both sides ended in
failure and the ensuing stalemate continued for the remainder of 1915. The most successful operation of the campaign was the evacuation of troops on the 19th and 20th December, under cover of a comprehensive deception operation. As a result, the Turks were unable to inflict more than a very few casualties on the retreating forces.
After Gallipoli the AIF was reorganised and expanded from two to five infantry divisions, all of which were progressively transferred to France, beginning in March 1916.
The AIF mounted division that had served as additional infantry during the campaign remained in the Middle East. When the other AIF divisions arrived in France, the
war on the Western Front had long been settled in a stalemate, with the opposing armies facing each other from trench systems that extended across Belgium and
north-east France, from the English Channel to the Swiss border. The development of machine-guns and artillery favoured defence over attack and compounded the
impasse, which lasted until the final months of the war.