War exhibition tells deeply personal tales of loss and sacrifice
LEARNING the stories of every family that lived on Olive Street during World War I proved to Subiaco Museum curator Erica Boyne that no-one escaped the impact of war.
Mrs Boyne said University of WA PhD candidate Claire Greer’s research into what happened to enlisted Olive Street residents was her favourite part of the exhibition When the Great War Came to Subiaco.
“Every single person that walks into this exhibition is a sister, or a mum or dad, and they can relate with these families that we talk about,” she said.
“We know Subiaco lost 10 per cent of their population, but what impact did that really have?
“This exhibition is to bring it down to a community level so people can understand the impact of patriotism, loss and sacrifice in a deeply personal way.”
Of the well-known Subiaco soldiers featured in the exhibition, including Distinguished Conduct Medal winner Charles Stokes and Victoria Cross recipient Clifford Sadlier, Mrs Boyne said her highlight was Bartholomew Stubbs.
“The exhibition often talks about the extreme patriotism in Subiaco which led to a lot of pressure for men to enlist, with white feathers ending up in people’s letterboxes,” she said.
“But there was this unspoken rule in Subiaco that if one man from the family enlisted, then they wouldn’t suffer the pressure.
“At 43 years old, Bartholomew was initially too old, but when they increased the age he enlisted instead of his son-in-law, and ended up being killed in Belgium.
“He sacrificed his younger generation.
“We have his death penny here and an original copy of his obituary published in the newspaper.”
When the Great War Came to Subiaco is open Tuesday to Friday, 1pm to 4pm and Saturday, noon to 4pm at the Subiaco Museum on Rokeby Road.
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