Back­story1918

The Courier-Mail - QWeekend - - WEEKENDER | TIME OUT - MYLES SIN­NA­MON

On July 23, 1918, a char­ity gala night was held at His Majesty's Theatre in Bris­bane. The Red Cross “Carry On” Night was in aid of the Queens­land Spe­cial Red Cross Ap­peal. The pro­gram was de­scribed as a “Grand Or­ches­tral Recital and Grand Pageant Play: Ad­vance Aus­tralia”. Months of prepa­ra­tions were re­warded as a large Bris­bane au­di­ence set­tled in for a night of entertainment.

The first part of the evening fea­tured mu­si­cal per­for­mances, in­clud­ing the pro­logue from Pagli­acci sung by bass-bari­tone Pri­vate Peter Daw­son, and a recita­tion of Car­il­lon, a war poem by Émile Cam­maerts, ac­com­pa­nied by mu­sic by El­gar. Be­fore the in­ter­val, a unique Red Cross silk flag do­nated by Messrs Fin­ney, Isles & Co was auc­tioned. On it were 14 sig­na­tures, in­clud­ing those of gov­er­nor-gen­eral Sir Ron­ald and Lady He­len Munro Fer­gu­son, and the gov­er­nors and their ladies of the six states. The flag went to John Hunter, with a win­ning bid of £ 270; a to­tal of £1110 was raised.

The entertainment con­cluded with the pageant play, de­scribed in the sou­venir pro­gram ( pic­tured) as “on a greater scale of mag­nif­i­cence than in ei­ther Mel­bourne or Lon­don”. It also noted that “all con­cerned have given their ser­vices freely to make the Red Cross `Carry On' Night one to be re­mem­bered long af­ter the ter­ri­ble war is over”. The Bris­bane Courier high­lighted the fi­nal scene, when “soldiers and sailors and war nurses crowded on the stage … and the whole as­sem­blage broke into the strains of Land of Hope and Glor y”. The pro­gram also de­scribes this scene – invit­ing the au­di­ence to join in the sing­ing – say­ing “the cur­tain descends on the cheer­ing Sons of Aus­tralia and a great pa­tri­otic cli­max”.

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