War Heritage Roadshow: keeping Bendigo military history safe in the home

Image of war memorabilia from World War I
Diaries, photos and souvenirs are among the pieces of war memorabilia that will be examined at Bendigo's War Heritage Roadshow.

Families from Bendigo will learn about their own wartime history at a two-day War Heritage Roadshow that kicks off on Friday, 28 April.

Diaries, photos and souvenirs are among the pieces of war memorabilia that will be examined at the Antiques Roadshow-inspired event featuring Australia’s top preservation and conservation experts.

It is part of a state-wide War Heritage Roadshow, which is a Victorian Government initiative being delivered by the University of Melbourne Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation.

It is designed to help preserve Australia’s wartime history, from the Boer War to the most recent conflicts, and give families and communities the tools to care for their memorabilia at home.

Grimwade Centre Director Robyn Sloggett said many Bendigo families have war memorabilia that helps tell the story of Australia’s war history.

“Bendigo has a long and proud military history,” Professor Sloggett said.

“Almost 4000 Bendigo people enlisted to serve in WW1 and there is a talking tram dedicated to telling the stories of the ANZACs from Bendigo.

“This roadshow will help families look after war memorabilia that has been passed down through the generations and to better understand the stories behind them."

Professor Sloggett said this included letters and photographs but also things like ration books and memorabilia from the home front or archives related to the peace movements.

“It’s also important that we think about modern war memorabilia – things like emails, snapchats and Facebook posts – that today’s military personnel are sending home to their families,” Professor Sloggett said.

Bendigo has a strong legacy of war service where Battalions were raised and servicemen and women returned.

Minister for Veterans John Eren said the roadshow was part of the Victorian Government Veterans Heritage and History Strategy to safeguard our wartime legacy for future generations.

“The Victorian Government is contributing $1.5 million to redevelopment of the Returned Soldier's Memorial Hall,” Mr Eren said.

"Many Victorians hold wartime artefacts important to their family story – and we want to make sure they can stay safely in family hands,” Mr Eren said.

“The Roadshow will provide a wonderful opportunity for Victorians to learn how to care for their precious wartime objects.”

The Returned Soldiers Memorial Hall is undergoing a $4.1 million refurbishment to ensure those who served at home and abroad as well as those who contributed labour, funds and effort to create the monument and museum are honoured.

The Bendigo War Heritage Roadshow will be held at St Paul's Anglican Cathedral, 8 Myers St, Bendigo on 28-29 April.