The Peace Comes to Liverpool public exhibition was a resounding success.
This Saturday, February 2, marks the end of the highly successful display hosted by Liverpool Council at Liverpool Regional Museum under the auspices of Moorebank Heritage Group.
It ran for 15 weeks and its aim was to highlight Liverpool’s war efforts on the home front – military and civilian – that had been underplayed for far too long and had not been a part of the many Australia-wide commemoration events between 2014 and 2018.
Liverpool was nationally an integral part of World War I as it had the largest training base for recruits and horses in Australia.
What sort of impact did the exhibition have?
My interest in WWI was extremely personal with great-uncles serving at Gallipoli, the Middle East and on the Western Front. Like most young men who enlisted in Sydney suburbs and all over NSW, they were ordinary young men who went on to do extraordinary deeds.MIKE DAVIS, Moorebank Heritage Group
The most important aspect for the region was commemorating the centenary of the Armistice 1918-2018. Outside what the Australian War Memorial did, the exhibition had no equal in Australia, particularly in October and November.
Most visitors, whether male or female, adults or children, and all were from a multitude of nationalities, had little or even no idea of the massive role played for four years by the Field Training Camp at Holdsworthy (sic) and the fledgling Liverpool community.
The exhibition gave a gripping snapshot of our region’s pre-1914 role, its efforts from 1914 to 1918 and in the immediate post-war years.
Many were simply amazed how the wives and children left behind coped, rallied and stuck it out, living with the uncertainty that they may never see their loved ones again.MIKE DAVIS, Moorebank Heritage Group
And I believe all the visitors came away with a greater sense of knowledge and pride in what Australian soldiers did in training and later fighting in three war zones.
Many were simply amazed how the wives and children left behind coped, rallied and stuck it out, living with the uncertainty that they may never see their loved ones again.
Comments like “very interesting, well laid-out and full of details” and “so much information – truly a great revelation” are among many hundreds of entries in the visitors’ book at the museum.
Very interesting, well laid-out and full of details.Visitors' book entry, Liverpool Regional Museum
My interest in World War I was extremely personal with great-uncles serving at Gallipoli, the Middle East and on the Western Front. Like most young men who enlisted in Sydney suburbs and all over New South Wales, they were ordinary young men who went on to do extraordinary deeds.
You can research on the web personal files about Australian soldiers who served but the real insight into the character of these young men and boys was often revealed by visitors to the exhibition recalling what that’d discovered about a grandfather or another relative from that grim period.
Our region’s contribution to the war effort saw many of our boys go overseas.
But Harry Boyland, William Francis Cloke, Charles Elvin Hyland, Joseph Harold Kemp, Samuel Kirkpatrick, Joseph Henry Leach, Charles Michael McFarlane, Joseph Campbell McMiles, Geoffrey Gordon Steenson, Alfred Charles Thorn, Campbell Throsby and others did not.
Despite the tragedy of losing a loved one the resilience of our residents here was equal to that of anyone anywhere in Australia.
So much information – truly a great revelation.Visitors' book entry, Liverpool Regional Museum
Consider the Kirkpatrick family, of Hoxton Park, who had three sons go to war, one of whom died.
Or Amelia Boyland, whose husband Harry Boyland died in 1916, leaving her with no support of any kind.
Their stories were duplicated over and over again until the Armistice on November 11, 1918 finally halted the sickening loss of life.
The exhibition never sought to glorify war but always to educate people of all ages about how one of Australia’s oldest historical towns rallied to a cause that subsequently proved nothing.
But they never wilted in their pursuit of peace in lands thousands of miles away.
- Peace comes to Liverpool closes on Saturday, 10am to 4pm.
- Moorebank Heritage Group: Mike Davis, email@example.com or 0417 651 922.