Yarra Plenty Regional Library’s Fine Spirit and Pluck was launched on August 6 along with the formal opening of the Writing the War exhibition (currently open till Monday August 29).
Copies are now available for loan and will also be available as an e-book in coming weeks.
Launched by Dr Janet Butler, she said: “ It is the particular skills of the family and local historian – and their many hours of detective work – that were required to recover the stories behind the names: to call them from the shadows, as Mick Woiwod has written, in his own account of the Harris family of St Andrews. Their work has made the names on honour rolls and monuments across the shires flesh and blood, and given back their stories to the communities from which they came.
Reclaiming the forgotten is a theme of many of the stories, including the moving ‘For Henry’ by Jenny Meekins. Here she writes about the Eltham soldier she thinks of on Anzac Day at dawn: her great-great uncle, who served on Gallipoli and died at Pozières. Once little known, she writes, ‘He is as real to me now as anyone I know’.
But the stories in Fine Spirit and Pluck, with their focus on a local area at war, as well as those in the exhibition, do more than this. They uncover the different stories of our nation’s experience of war, which have been cast into shadow, until recently, by the legend of the frontline Anzac soldier.”
We have gathered stories from the municipalities of Banyule, Nillumbik and Whittlesea – stories that help us connect us to our past and offer a sense of place in the community in which we live, and which exemplify the fine spirit and pluck exhibited by every Australian. It is a poignant collection of snapshots into the past, an anthology that commemorates the Australian spirit and which is sure to touch every reader.
Stories can now also be accessed via Wikinorthia: Documenting life in Melbourne's north.