Activities for the Whanganui area include a major exhibition, digitisation of community held records, a newsletter, art exhibitions and memorials photography.
A number of activities are planned to commemorate the First World War in the Whanganui area. Meetings have been held locally with the Wanganui RSA, Whanganui Regional Heritage Trust, Whanganui Regional Museum, Wanganui District Council, Wanganui District Library and a number of other organisations. As a result, a wide-ranging and coordinated programme is being developed which will take place from 2014 through to 2019.
Funding has been secured from the Lottery Grants Board and Powerco Wanganui Trust to help develop a package of local projects which will be promoted alongside other region-wide activities, some of which have also secured Lottery funding. These local projects are as follows.
Anzac Day 2015
The Alexander Heritage & Research Library on Queen’s Park will be open on Anzac Day morning 5:30am-12 noon with Wellington regimental diaries on show. Coffee will be served in the Alexander Lounge after the Dawn Service from 6.30am-8.30am. The Alexander Heritage & Research Library is open weekday afternoons 1-5pm.
The Great War Roadshow
We plan to go around our region to meet up with people and scan and photograph their treasures such as photographs, diaries, letters and other memorabilia. These records will form the basis of many of our local stories so we can tell the rest of New Zealand about the contribution local people made during the Great War. Volunteers are welcome to become part of the Roadshow; training will be provided to ensure we get the best possible digital records which will be lodged permanently with the Whanganui Regional Museum.
Billy Connell’s War
The Whanganui Regional Museum will have a major two-year exhibition opening in 2014 accompanied by public and educational activities. Photographs taken by a Whanganui man, Billy Connell, will provide the focus for the exhibition which will be a vehicle for telling the stories of local people during the Great War.
The Great War Times
This will be our newsletter featuring stories and information collected on the Roadshow plus other items of interest. The Great War Times will also promote the whole range of activities happening in our area to commemorate the First World War including concerts, plays, exhibitions and memorial upgrades and restorations. The first issue in March 2014 will focus on researching people and promoting the Roadshow. Copies will be in local libraries and museums with a digital version available to download from www.whanganuiheritage.org.nz as well as other websites.
The Wanganui District Library has a number of letters from the Front sent to the regiment in Wanganui. These are to be digitised and transcribed and will provide another marvellous source of information about what was happening during the war and soldiers’ reactions to events at the time.
For service rendered
Local photographer, Leigh Mitchell-Anyon will photograph a number of indoor memorials and honours boards around our region. We have a list of those of interest but welcome ideas of others that we may not be aware of. We can then use these photographs for future exhibitions, in the development of memorial trail guides and other publications.
Remembering the unsung heroes of the Great War
A children’s art exhibition is planned for Victoria Avenue in late 2015, organised by the Sarjeant Gallery in partnership with Mainstreet Wanganui.
For further information about how you can get involved and to contribute information about people from the Whanganui area involved in the First World War, contact:
Whanganui Regional Heritage Trust, PO Box 402, Wanganui
or email the Chair, Wendy Pettigrew on [email protected]