Yass Historical Society to reflect on role in Belgium

Troops of the 5th Division during the Battle of Passchendaele. Photo: Australian War Memorial/SMH
Troops of the 5th Division during the Battle of Passchendaele. Photo: Australian War Memorial/SMH

Soon after the beginning of World War I in 1914, news began to reach Australia about the invasion of Belgium by German forces.

One of the first Australians under fire was a nurse from Boorowa who made a dangerous and dramatic escape from Antwerp in Belgium.

Fundraising to help the people in far off Belgium soon became an everyday part of civilian life in Australia. ‘Belgian Day’ was a regular event with everyone. 

But for some in the Yass area, news from Belgium a century ago in 1917 took on a very personal perspective with the loss of local people.

Some of these are commemorated in St. Clement’s Anglican Church, Yass.

By war’s end, virtually every community throughout the Commonwealth had a tragic connection with Belgium.

By the end of the war, 12,970 from the Australian Imperial Force had died in Belgium.

In 1927, when the British Empire’s memorial was unveiled in Ypres, Belgium, 6000 Australian names were listed among the 54,000 dead.

With the hundred year anniversary of Gallipoli in 1915, the Yass & District Historical Society began a series of four events to commemorate each year of World War I and its impact on Yass and the local area.

The third in this series will be held on Saturday, October 14 at St. Clement’s Church, Church Street Yass at 2pm.

Three reflections on the ‘Battle of Passchendaele’ in October 1917 and the war in Belgium and its impact on Australia and Yass in particular will be presented by Dr. Richard Reid, Dr. Jeff Brownrigg and Cheryl Mongan.

Afternoon tea will be served in the Church Hall.

Society Members - $15, Non-members - $17.

Bookings and enquiries phone: 6226 1435 or 6226 1334 or 6226 1504.