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Cherbourg’s Anzacs On Display

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A Memorial Board presented by Murgon Shire Council to honour Cherbourg digger Archibald Marshall, left, who died in WWI and an album page for Arthur Murdoch, a Cherbourg digger who survived, right, are just two of the items that will be on display in "The Boys From Barambah"

March 4, 2015

This year’s Anzac week will see two exciting events celebrating and commemorating the role of Cherbourg’s diggers in Australia’s armed forces.

On Tuesday, April 21, at 11:00am the Ration Shed Museum will be launching a new display outlining the involvement of Cherbourg in World War I.

A century ago Cherbourg was known as Barambah, and 47 men from the area signed up to fight for the British Empire in far-away fields and deserts.

The new exhibition is called “The Boys from Barambah” and it will be accompanied by a book, a website, a film and a suite of educational resources which will all be on display at the Ration Shed Museum.

The launch will be attended by ex-soldiers and community elders who will come together to remember those who served and to pass on the spirit of Anzac to younger generations of indigenous and non-indigenous children.

Many other dignitaries, politicians, local RSL representatives, organisations and schools will also witness the launch of the displays.

“With The Boys from Barambah we’ve tried to capture the stories of our young Aboriginal men leaving their homes for the first time, going abroad to foreign lands to fight a war for the British Empire and the Australian nation – some of whom made the ultimate sacrifice – and then returning to their difficult lives under the Aboriginal Protection Act,” Eric Law, chair of the Ration Shed’s Anzac committee, said.

“The Boys from Barambah” contains many stories which are both interesting and unsettling.

One such story concerns a group of young men who enlisted only to find they were part of a publicity stunt to shame white men into joining the armed forces in Brisbane.

They were sent back to Barambah after a few weeks, and then delisted on the grounds that they were not sufficiently “associated with white people”.

On Saturday, April 25, an Anzac Day ceremony will be held at Cherbourg in the early morning.

This event will see two significant moments: the re-naming of the Memorial Park as the “Boys from Barambah Anzac Park”; and the unveiling of a new honour board which acknowledges – for the first time – all the men who enlisted from the Barambah region.

Organisers expect a significant attendance at the event.

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