“Sleep on! Australia’s noble sons, we bow our heads to thee Who fought and made the sacrifice to keep Australia free”
The dignitaries watched the cloudy skies on that afternoon of the 21st November 1925 as the good citizens of Beenleigh and environs gathered for the unveiling of the R.S.S.I.L.A. Beenleigh Sub-Branch Monument. In the crowd were the proud families and friends of those who had volunteered to serve, some of whom made the supreme sacrifice, in the Great War – the ‘War to End All Wars’.
Who were these young people who had so bravely responded to the call to arms?
Many of their families live in our community today and some of their names are recorded on the monument in the heart of Beenleigh.
This project was initiated prior to the centenary of WWI when our group was approached by the Beenleigh RSL, asking if our society knew about the names on the memorial. Several of our members, led by Kevin Egan, researched the 61 names, they published the first CD in 2009. It contained information about the memorial and some general data about the soldiers and WW1.
Dianna Ottaway came across the CD in 2014 and decided that she would expand it to include men and women from the greater Beenleigh area who had served. Dianna, aided by Diane Schulz, has spent several years researching and recording these 236 stories. The stories tell of their daily lives rather than of battalions and battles, which have been well-covered elsewhere. This revised edition includes many more names than the original.
The project has been published as a collection of stories, plus other information, on a USB drive which can be purchased from the society for $30. The vast collection of research behind the stories is a useful resource for anyone researching the families of these volunteers. This is being kept in digital form at our research rooms. Anyone wishing to access it should contact the society (non-members pay a research fee).