LO­CALS RE­SEARCH FALLEN DIG­GERS

Lo­cal his­to­ri­ans com­pil­ing sto­ries of Childers’ First World War he­roes

Isis Town and Country - - Front Page - By MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

AN AM­BI­TIOUS project by three lo­cal women will un­cover the sto­ries be­hind lo­cal men and women who served in the First World War.

Denise Rap­kins, Shirley Oak­man and Thelma Denny started the project ear­lier this year.

The first stage of the plan is to record the sto­ries of all sol­diers from the Childers area who were among the thou­sands to land at Gal­lipoli, and the trio are call­ing for pub­lic as­sis­tance.

Mrs Rap­kins ex­plained the group sought to speak with de­scen­dants so as to cre­ate a greater un­der­stand­ing and in­crease records of lo­cal ser­vice­men be­fore they were lost to his­tory.

“We’re try­ing to get as many sto­ries as pos­si­ble now,” Mrs Rap­kins said.

“We need to get as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble as they could be the last to re­mem­ber the sto­ries of their fa­thers or grand­fa­thers.”

The project has not been with­out its chal­lenges, with in­com­plete and “odd” records and the dif­fi­culty in con­firm­ing some in­for­ma­tion part of their tough­est tasks.

They ex­plained that some men claimed by lo­cal records had lit­tle to no ev­i­dence hav­ing been in the area, with at least hav­ing been con­fused with Childers, Vic­to­ria.

Another was from Western Aus­tralia, with de­scen­dants hav­ing no record of the ser­vice­man ever be­ing in Queens­land de­spite his records be­ing lodged in the area.

“We won’t get it 100% right but we’ll do the best we can,” Mrs Oak­man said.

“All of this has to go some­where. It has to be recorded be­fore we lose it.

“It is dif­fi­cult. There are no com­plete records and some in­for­ma­tion isn’t al­ways cur­rent.”

Mrs Denny said she was specif­i­cally chas­ing in­for­ma­tion re­lat­ing to serv­ing mem­bers of the Wood­man fam­ily, of whom she had prob­lems track­ing.

CON­TACT Denise Rap­kins at Childers Li­brary to share sto­ries, mem­o­ra­bilia or for more in­for­ma­tion.

PHOTO: MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

BIG JOB: First World War re­searchers (from left) Denise Rap­kins, Shirley Oak­man and Thelma Denny.

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