Wyndham’s Digger stories preserved with grants

A project to document the lives of Wyndham’s fallen World War I soldiers, a reflective garden dedicated to Australia’s Diggers and the restoration of military equipment from the 1800s are among the latest Wyndham recipients of funding through the federal government’s ANZAC Centenary Local Grants program.

As reported by Star Weekly last month, the Wyndham Anzac commemorative committee, with support from Wyndham council and Werribee RSL, is compiling digital travelling storyboards on each of the 60 World War I diggers.

The project will develop storyboards detailing the life of each soldier. It will also develop a WWI mural at Werribee RSL and an interactive and educational war commemoration for school students, featuring displays, tours and re-creations of life in the trenches.

Along with moving around schools and the community, the storyboards will stand beside crowds at the Werribee march on April 19 and the dawn service at the cenotaph on Anzac Day.

Werribee Secondary College received $5592 to restore historic military equipment and uniforms donated to the school in 2011.

The uniforms, the same as those worn by Werribee’s half-battery of horse artillery in the late 1800s, will be used by students in commemorative services.

Werribee Men’s Shed was awarded $10,410 to create a reflective garden at the Wyndham Park Community Centre dedicated to Australia’s World War I soldiers.

Commemorative committee member Margaret Markovic said it was important to create more awareness of what soldiers went through. “This grant will allow us to record Wyndham’s dawn service and our march and record our presentations to schools so we have an oral history for future generations,” she said.

“To have 60 fallen soldiers standing next to the crowd at the march and the dawn service will make a real impact and show that these men are more than just names on a wall.

“We want people to relate to them and personalise their stories by showing their ages and that they were a butcher or a farmer or married with children, where they fought and where they were killed. It’s tragic that some of our soldiers who lost their lives in the war have yet to be identified.

“But for those we do know about, it’s all the more reason for us to learn about them as people.”