November 1, 2021
A big crowd turned out on Saturday night for the opening of an art exhibition in Murgon that salutes the service of Australia’s World War I diggers and nurses.
The 30 watercolour and ink works, by Queensland artist Ross Driver, were commissioned by Bundaberg Regional Council in 2018 to mark the centenary of the end of the Great War.
Murgon RSL Sub-Branch Welfare Drop-In Centre is hosting the travelling exhibition, which will be on display all this week as a lead-up to Remembrance Day.
Ross told southburnett.com.au the works took him about two years to complete.
The exhibition has already been shown in Bundaberg, Childers, Gayndah and Mount Perry and will be moving on to more venues after Murgon.
Ross drew the crowd’s attention to two of his works in particular:
- 47th Battalion veteran Sergeant Stanley McDougall VC who earned a Victoria Cross and Military Medal at Dernancourt in France in 1918; and
- Lance Corporal Harold Latham MM who earned a Military Medal at Zonnebeke in Belgium in 1917.
The 47th Battalion has a special role in South Burnett history as the battalion in which many local residents served (and died). McDougall was a Tasmanian but served alongside many Queenslanders.
Wide Bay and Burnett District RSL president Trevor Williamson OAM suggested Harold Latham to Ross as a local portrait.
Latham, whose father farmed at Redgate, earned his Military Medal when he rushed forward under fire and threw a Mills bomb (hand grenade) into a shell hole where German riflemen had been shooting at fellow Diggers. He later served in World War II, farmed at Goomeribong and Stonelands and at one stage ran a cafe in Goomeri.
The exhibition was officially opened by South Burnett Mayor Brett Otto.
It is the first major event to be held in the Drop-In Centre since it was officially opened in July.
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Wandering through the Murgon RSL Sub-Branch Welfare Drop-In Centre, southburnett.com.au spotted this portrait of two soldiers on one of the walls.
The sad thing is, no one knows who they are … if you do, please drop into the Welfare Centre (next to Murgon Courthouse) and let them know!