Today is ANZAC Day, a commemoration of the Australian and New Zealand armed forces. It began as a memorial for soldiers who fought at Gallipoli in 1915 and has widened to become a general day of remembrance for all who have served in the military.
ANZAC Day arouses interesting feelings in the Rosewood Scrub. There is a parade at Rosewood but Marburg has not had a parade for some time although plans are in the air for holding one in 2008. Anti-German feeling was rife in the Rosewood Scrub during the war years. In addition to changing names of towns from German to more English-sounding names (Marburg to Townshend, Minden to Frenchton and Kirchheim to Haigslea), a number of prominent residents were interned for suspected sympathy with Germany and of this number, some were denaturalised and deported. There are anecdotal stories about how locals shunned “Germans” during both world wars.
Dr. Euchariste Sirois is credited with the successful campaign to have original town names restored, although Haigslea has remained. However, the Returned Services League (RSL), which represents the armed forces and organises commemorative activities has maintained the name “Townshend” on its board of honour. It is also reported that the list does not list many of the German men who served.
It’s an interesting legacy in an area that has been so dominated by its German population. The parade next year has been suggested by one of our political representatives. I wonder if he has much knowledge of this history? I wonder if the RSL will allow a parade under the banner of Marburg?