Beaudesert historian tells the story of the homefront

PATRIOTS: Local historian David Mason and Beaudesert Historical Museum curator Ian Moss standing in front of Beaudesert's War Loan Honour Flag. Photo Tom Bushnell.
PATRIOTS: Local historian David Mason and Beaudesert Historical Museum curator Ian Moss standing in front of Beaudesert's War Loan Honour Flag. Photo Tom Bushnell.

The Beaudesert Historical Society is set to launch local historian David Mason’s latest book.

World War I Homefront in the Beaudesert District 1914-1921 explains the history of the war effort on Australian soil, specifically focusing on the people of the local region and their stories.

Mason wrote the book over 18 months as a companion to his earlier offering The Soldiers and Nurses of the Beaudesert District in World War I 1914-19.

He said he hasn’t found any books by other regional historical societies which tell the story of this significant part of Australian history from a local perspective.

“It’s a complex story,” he said.

“Soldiers enlisted, then they fought and died overseas but at home there was recruiting, fundraising through loans and war related charities, and repatriation.

“There was also dissension over conscription.

“The stories of the homefront impacted greatly on the war effort abroad, so the book gives people a picture of the whole war, not just the battlefront.”

Among the tales Mason shares is that of Canungra man Maurice Delpratt,  a prisoner of war who returned home suffering post-traumatic stress syndrome only to be treated poorly by the repatriation committee.

A former member of the Citizen Military Force, Mason said he learnt enough through that association to appreciate what those who took up arms during the Great War experienced.

The Beaudesert Historical Society received a grant from the Queensland Government ANZAC Centenary Unit of the Premier’s Department to fund printing of 155 copies.

Beaudesert Historical Museum Ian Moss said Mason volunteered regularly and was a very useful asset, and he encouraged people to attend the launch to collect their free copy.

At the same time, the society will unveil a War Loan Honour Flag given to the people of Beaudesert for exceeding the amount that was expected to be contributed to the war effort by the region during the Commonwealth’s Seventh War Loan in 1918.

Australian towns and districts which raised twice their quota of funds to the Seventh War Loan were presented with an Honour Flag featuring three blue bars and a star.

After flying proudly at Beaudesert in 1920, the flag was in the possession of a local person who held onto it until 1960, when it was given to the historical society.

It was then placed in a box and forgotten about until it was found during the clean up following the 2017 flood.

The flag has since been mounted on the museum wall.

The book launch and flag unveiling will take place at the Beaudesert Historical Museum at 54 Brisbane Street from 11am on Saturday, September 15.

Entry costs $10, which will include morning tea supplied by Bean To? Cafe, a tour of the museum, and lucky door prize.

There will also be raffles.

Once the 155 free books are given away, the society plans to make copies available from the museum for a small fee.