Gold Museum’s World War I Exhibition
The Gold Museum’s latest in-house exhibition Are You Going Too? tells the story of Ballarat during World War I. Content has been drawn from the museum’s rich World War I collection featuring letters, photographs, objects and postcards.
The exhibition focuses on the experiences of four young men who went to fight. Letters and diaries record the soldiers’ journey as they went from training in the Broadmeadows Military Camp, engagement in Gallipoli and, for some, their tragic deaths. The exhibition explores the stories of the following soldiers.
Sir Albert Coates (b. 1895, Mount Pleasant) was 19 years old when he enlisted in the army. He served in Egypt, Gallipoli and Flanders as a medical orderly and later with the Intelligence Corps. Upon his return to Australia, he undertook a medical course, eventually becoming one of Australia’s pioneers in neuroscience and a mentor of Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop.
Seventeen year old Roy Victor Holloway (b. 1896, Ballarat) falsified his father’s signature to join the 14th Battalion. After training in the Broadmeadows Military Camp and Heliopolis Camp he was sent to Gallipoli and then went onto the Western Front. In 1917 he was taken prisoner by the Germans and held captive for 20 months in the Soltau prisoner of war camp. Roy returned home in 1919 where he was given a hero’s welcome.
John Benjamin Johns (b. 1889, Ballarat) joined the 11th Battalion after having served in the 5th AIF Infantry Regiments prior to the war. In his letters back home, he wrote of his initial excitement about life in Egypt: ‘This life is suiting me splendidly and I was never better in my life’. However as John went into battle, the realities of the war became evident. He described his time in Gallipoli as ‘an eye opener’ which ‘brought home the fact that we are on serious business’. John was killed in battle at Gallipoli in August 1915
Joseph James Lugg joined the war together with his brother Robert. Little is known about Joe but his collection of letters housed at the museum provides an insight into the young man’s faith and unwavering support of God, King and Country. Joseph was amongst those Anzacs sent to the Dardanelles and was at the landing on 25 April, 1915. He was killed in action in Gallipoli in August 1915, while his brother survived.
Are You Going Too? is on at the Gold Museum until August 2015.