Proud Condah remembers its WWI heroes

CONDAH’S connection to World War I is being remembered through a film and a night of song.

Condah residents and descendants gather outside the hall after April’s “community conversation” to discuss the First World War commemorations.

Condah residents and descendants gather outside the hall after April’s “community conversation” to discuss the First World War commemorations.

In a project led by Macarthur’s Maryanne Martin, Condah locals and descendants of former residents met earlier this year to explore what life was like in Condah during 1914-1918.

The event was supported by the Heywood RSL, which helped apply for an Anzac centenary government grant to make it all possible.

The discussions and information presented at the event were spurred on by a booklet compiled by Ms Martin detailing life during wartime.

She said one of the unique elements to arise from the “community conversation” was the songs of the era, many of which will be performed at a film screening and community gathering to be held on July 19.

“We tracked down some of the songs (of the era) and various people were prepared to have a go at singing them,” Ms Martin said.

The songs will be performed in between serving homemade food similar to that likely to have been served in 1914-18. 

There will also be a screening of the 20-minute film Following In The Footsteps Of The Condah Anzacs, which was put together by Ryebuck Media’s managing director and Condah descendant Tim Gurry.

The film visits the graves of some of the Condah soldiers who died on the Western Front during World War I. 

Of the 42 soldiers who enlisted from the Condah area, 12 died on the Western Front. These included a large number of indigenous soldiers. Of the 30 Aboriginal men who enlisted in Victoria, 15 were from the Lake Condah and Warrnambool areas.

Another film is expected to follow later in the year detailing the community conversation session in April and the upcoming film-and-song night on July 19 using footage from both events.

Ms Martin said the project came about from local history nights she was running in the Condah community while investigating her own heritage in the area.

“What I found really interesting was the sense of community attachment to (Condah),” she said.

“It spanned over 100 years — people who didn’t physically live there (but their ancestors had) were still attached to that community.”

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