Australia Day Souvenir Card; 1915; 197

From

Port Macquarie Museum

Name/Title

Australia Day Souvenir Card

About this object

This yellow printed folded card with decorative edging is a souvenir of the Australia Day war fund raising event held at Wauchope’s Bain Park on 30 July, 1915. The card contains a patriotic quote, verse and lists the names of volunteers from Wauchope who had joined the Expeditionary Forces ‘To Fight for King and Empire’ as enlisted by Wauchope’s First-class Constable Ferris.

It is likely that several of the volunteers listed on the souvenir card were not local people but men who enlisted at Wauchope whilst working on the North Coast railway.

Wauchope’s fund raising event was reported as a great success, attracting 350 people and raising a total of £300. It is believed this souvenir card was sold at the book and souvenir stall either for a given price or by way of donation. Other stalls included refreshment, pot plants, preserves, sweets, doll, fruit and Hoopla. There were numerous raffles with prizes including cushions, souvenirs, saddle and bridle, paintings and photographs. Bullocks were auctioned, sports events held and the day ended with a dance. It was also reported that everyone gave freely and that many gave more than they originally intended to give, indicating the strong patriotic sentiment on the day.

Australia Day was held on 30 July 1915 as part of an Australia wide fund-raising plan for the war effort. Money was raised by declaring a special day on which events such as auctions, stalls, performances and street collections were held to encourage the community to contribute. The first such day was Belgian Day, held on 14 May 1915. Australia Day was also intended to draw on the pride of Australians following their soldiers’ achievements at Gallipoli.

Souvenirs such as ribbons, badges, handkerchiefs, buttons and cards like this one, were sold to raise funds. Many of them contained phrases intended to appeal to people’s sense of pride and patriotism and this card is an example of such patriotism.

Australia Day 1915 was highly successful, raising more than £839,000 in New South Wales alone and united the country.

C W Bean’s Official History of World War I records the success of the day across Australia:
‘…It is unlikely that ‘Australia Day’ will ever be wholly forgotten by any who were privileged to take part in that magnificent outburst of giving… It seemed as if the whole community had abandoned itself to giving and spending all it had for the sake of the men on service’.

People across the Hastings had already marked ‘Belgian Day’ earlier in the year with major fund-raising efforts and did the same for ‘Australia Day’. In addition to the event held at Wauchope, fund raising events were held at Port Macquarie, Rawdon Island, Rollands Plains and Pembrooke, Upper Hastings, Telegraph Point, Brombin and Comboyne.

This card evidences a local fund event held on the very first Australia Day 30 July, 1915, and the generosity and patriotism exhibited by the small Wauchope community for the greater war effort.

Debbie Sommers
10 October 2015

Date Made

1915

Medium and Materials

Paper, ink

Measurements

170mm H, 100mm W

Credit Line

Donor: Mrs McLaren

Object Type

Cards

Object number

197

Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

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