War returns to Valley

THERE will be no escaping World War 1 over the next five years.

The centenary of this cataclysmic conflict is being marked by thousands of new books, films and television programs, exhibitions, tours and other events.

The Far South Coast will not be spared because more than 1000 men from the area enlisted, over 200 lost their lives, and the local community was deeply affected by the war.

In fact, the Far South Coast was perhaps the only area in Australia to which German hostilities extended.  

The German raider SMS Wolf had laid mines along the NSW South Coast and on July 15, 1917, the merchant vessel Cumberland – in all likelihood while transporting war materials to England – struck one of these off Gabo Island and subsequently sank about five miles south-east of Green Cape.

A course reviewing WW1 and focussing on Australia’s involvement and the effect the war had on the Far South Coast is being held in Bega and Bermagui, starting early February.  

It runs for eight weeks, with a one-and-a-half-hour session each week.

It is being led by local WW1 historian Peter Lacey in conjunction with the Bega Valley Historical Society and U3A Bermagui.

The Bega sessions are being held on Wednesday mornings, starting February 5, at the Bega Pioneers Museum.

The Bermagui course is being held in CTC Room 1 (behind the visitors centre) on Thursday mornings, starting February 6.

The cost of the eight-week course is just $10 plus (if applicable) $10 for membership of the Bega Valley Historical Society or $20 for membership of U3A Bermagui.

Places are limited on both courses, so advance enrolment is essential.  

This can be completed at Bega Pioneers Museum on January 31 from 10-11.30am, at Bermagui Country Club on January 29 from 10am until noon, or by calling Mr Lacey on 6493 8529.

“This is a much more interesting course than the usual school history course,” Mr Lacey promised.

“It is enticingly simple, full of quirky things about the war, and there are lots of opportunities to discuss aspects of WW1 of particular interest to participants.

“It’s a course everyone should join to fully understand what happened in WW1 and why it happened.  

“Then everything we are about to see and hear about WW1 over the next five years will be a lot more meaningful to us.”

• Historian Peter Lacey is leading an upcoming course on Australia’s and the Far South Coast’s involvement in World War 1.

• Historian Peter Lacey is leading an upcoming course on Australia’s and the Far South Coast’s involvement in World War 1.