British war graves to be restored in northern Poland

Prisoners of War: They are soldiers, who must have encountered the enemy in close quarters and gone through an individual, and perhaps group, process of deciding to fight to the death, lay down their arms in defeat, exhaustion, injury, abandonment or at the lost of all hope.

The encounter, the surrender or capture, for a soldier is, I suspect one of the most gut wrenching feelings a person could be faced with. Perhaps there was a feeling of relief – I’m safe at last: I will rest out my days in a camp and just wait until this awful War to end all wars is over. Some camps horrific, some civilized. But to die in captivity is something that is unimaginable.

At times there was kindness in death, but the captors, priests, nuns or a wreath provided by a surrounding occupied town, but largely dying as a prisoner of war in captivity in an unconscionable end to the of a teacher, plumber, a baker, father or a son.

It is important to remember them, and restoration of their final place headstones and monuments is important.

First World War Centenary, 1914-1918


The graves of 39 First World War British soldiers who died at the German army’s Heilsberg prisoner of war camp are to be restored.

The graves, at Lidzbark Warminski in northern Poland, were marked with a Cross of Sacrifice and Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) headstones in the years immediately following the end of the conflict. But, during the 1960s, the cemetery deteriorated and the men’s names were added to the memorial at Malbork Commonwealth War Cemetery.


Experts from the CWGC are now restoring the Lidzbark Warminski site, erecting new headstones that have been manufactured in the CWGC’s offices at Arras in France.

A number of families of the men have come forward and will be able to attend a rededication ceremony planned for May, at which the CWGC will also install a new Visitor Information Panel.

Among those commemorated at Lidzbark Warminski is 19-year-old private Frank Bower…

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Australian Indigenous Response to World War One

The mystery continues – do you know who the two standing soldiers are in this WW1 portrait?

Read the original article below for more information and discussion.

Book Review: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Volunteers for the AIF: The Indigenous Response to World War One (Second Edition 2012)
Author: Philippa Scarlett

Private Harry Avery with an unidentified Aboriginal soldier (previously thought to be Douglas Grant) and an unknown British soldier, c 1918, courtesy of Rebecca Lamb.

I first came across Philippa Scarlett’s name as part of my research into World War One Australian Aboriginal soldier Douglas Grant. Philippa was a guest on an ABC Radio program with two other researchers, Garth O’Connell and David Huggonson. Garth and David had led the way some years earlier by documenting the neglected area of Australia’s Indigenous war service record.

The radio program had the well known portrait of a WWI Aboriginal soldier, standing next to Private Harry Avery and an unknown British soldier, as a prominent image on it’s website for the interview. This photo, said to be of Aboriginal…

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Family recovers medals of Australian Aboriginal soldier

More and more of the Aboriginal WWI story comes out – nearly 1000 Indigenous Australians served in WWI and here is just one story about some returned medals – but it much deeper than that. It is about being laid to rest in the Country of your ancestors; it’s about family. The passing of the name ANZAC shows how deep the loss has been for just one family.

I am glad the medals are back home.

First World War Centenary, 1914-1918


The family of an Australian Aboriginal soldier who was killed during the First World War have been reunited with his war medals.

Private Arthur Walker’s great-grandson, John Lochowiak, was given the medals by a relative after she saw him at the unveiling of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial.

Mr Lochowiak said: ‘Being killed overseas is a big deal for anyone, but in Aboriginal tradition where you are born is where you return when you die, so Arthur was separated from his country.

‘It’s overwhelming to think his mother received these medals after he was killed and now they are back in the right place.’

Gallipoli veteran

Private Walker enlisted in 1914 aged 32. He landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, 1915, with the 10th Battalion Australian Infantry. He survived the campaign was killed on the Western Front in 1916 serving with the 50th Battalion. He is…

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All Quiet on the Western Front

I too have been reading All Quiet on the Western Front after only glancing through it in the 1980’s school book assignment. Thirty years later, I’m ready to really read it and contemplate what all soldiers and animals (mainly horses) when through 100 years ago. #ANZAC

What Crosses My Mind


I’ve been reading the book All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque and it’s one of those books that when you look at the cover you’re like “ehh looks slow” but once you start reading it, it really grabs you and you want to keep reading. It’s about a soldier and his fellow soldiers on the battle field of World War 1 and how things were from their point of view. I had always heard of WW1 and WW2 and I always had an idea that is was a struggle for soldiers who fought, but my idea of their struggles was just death and starvation. Little did I know that they had lice, trench foot, and barely showered. It’s much worse than I thought it to be. Books like these sort of “humble” you in a way. For a while you put your life into perspective and…

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Have you posted your old photos on social media yet? It will be a hit!

Shell Facebook Banner

Nostalgia has definitely made it’s way back into retail marketing, but it is also making an impression in other industries as well, with social media facilitating nostalgic brand and marketing strategies. The free platforms like Facebook and WordPress also put this ability into the hand of local museums, historical societies, galleries and community groups.

As Shell fast approaches five million followers, it’s Facebook banner featured a nostalgic 1960/70’s image. Even as the brand talks innovation, a high-tech and advanced technologies, the old Shell station resonates with thousands of Facebook followers liking and sharing the picture.

Brand nostalgia is not a mutually exclusive to retail marketing strategy, as proven by Coca-Cola time and time again. Social media now provides several unique platforms to marry nostalgia with other seemingly divergent strategies as refreshing (excuse the pun) and social engaging content.

Note the branding is consistent over the years, the Shell logo from back then is still representing the company today, creating continuity.

So if major brands are engaging with their “fans” and getting free advertising from those fans sharing, liking and promoting the brand, why not take steal the strategy and implement it in your not for profit organisation? Most NFPs have plenty of volunteers will to help and those with a more ‘senior’ member demographic may be able to use social media as a way of attracting younger interest into the organisation.

As we speak, social media marketing teams are raiding their corporate museums, archives and googling for “cool” retro images to fit in to their current brand strategies. Social media provides a ready tool for the quick, low cost, distribution of historical images allowing fans and followers to further engage with fond memories and simpler times (pre-social media) when the brand was with them.

Have you looked at your retro photos yet? Post them and people will like and share them…. why else would advertisers being do it! Grow your fan base, attract new interest and membership while bring your NFP into this century and increasing accessibility to your collection.

Add a copyright message, but only put things up on the internet that you are prepared to see copied and re-appearing elsewhere, with or with a credit.

Social media for NFP museums, galleries and historical societies

Social media for Not for Profitsmobiledevices
Social media can be overwhelming at times: content (photographs, images, video and text), online communities, tone of voice, moderation, legal considerations, time management, public verses personal posts, timely responses to customers and more. And then there is the multitude of platforms – Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and blogging sites like to name but a few. Where should you start? Do you even need to start using social media?

We understand social media
Not for Profits are a unique unto themselves and every NFP is unique. Don’t jump into social media without carefully selecting what best suits your needs. Nothing is worse than an organisation that started Facebook or Tweeting but has not done an update in the last year or two. It is part of your organisation’s public face, just like a shop window, it is either neat and tidy, or run-down and tired. Even worse perhaps, there is no shop window for your NFP! We have great experience with social media, let us help you!

Let us guide you through the process
Museums, galleries, historical societies and community groups are called on to do a lot of things. Let Optimize Business help you assess your specific needs for social media. We’ll sit down with you to understand your customers, your opportunities for social and then we will either train you and/or your staff or you can hand it all over to Optimize Business for a complete outsourced solution.

Our approach
We are flexible and will work to meet your individual needs. We will also tell you straight out if we think social media is not right for you. We will also talk to you about social media advertising, it is constantly changing but provides direct access to local customers you choose to communicate with.

  • Needs analysis
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So where is that enormous vice-regal gold vase?

An illustration of the December 1853 presentation of a gold vase to Victoria’s Lt Governor, Charles J La Trobe. The Illustrated London News, June 1854

2013 is the 160th anniversary of the presentation of a ‘gold testimonial’ vase to Victoria’s first Lieutenant Governor in 1853. And while there is the La Trobe Reading Room, La Trobe Street, the University and La Trobe City, no-one seems to know what happened to this unique and valuable piece of our Colonial and State history.

Many Victorians are aware of the La Trobe testimonial candelabrum centrepiece that is on display at the National Gallery of Victoria. This spectacular silver and glass piece was manufactured in London by Stephen Smith & William Nicholson (1854-1855). This silver ‘testimonial’ was presented to Lt Governor Charles La Trobe following his return to London in 1854.

The silver candelabrum is in fact the second of two significant testimonial works presented to La Trobe.  The first testimonial, an enormous gold cup, was presented at a ‘grand ball’ in Melbourne on the stormy evening of Wednesday, 28th of December, 1853.   Controversy surrounded the gold cup even then, with the Argus reporting that while only a small objection was taken to the ball, some “indignation” was felt about the golden cup being presented and that it was no less than an “outrage” that such a man should receive the cup.

Despite the local debate about La Trobe’s competency and how unpopular some felt he was, the Illustrated London News reported details of the grand farewell from the last Australian mail, six months later in June, 1854.  “Highly popular throughout the Colony,” with nearly 2000 people attending, the gold cup was presented at the grand farewell in Melbourne.

The gold cup could contain one and half bottles of wine, or “about the same in table beer, “ and was no doubt used for this purpose at the ball:  there were toasts “drunk with loyal enthusiasm” and with a band number 100 performers, the “enjoyments of the ball were prolonged until about five o’clock the next morning.”

CJLT 1854 Gold Vase4

Close examination of The Illustrated London News illustration shown not just a glamorous Colonial Ball, but perhaps more importantly, what could be the only remaining visual representation from the period of the gold cup.

With the discovery of gold only a few years earlier in 1851, goldsmiths in the Colony were still in their professional infancy by 1853.  Important works of the time would often have Victorian gold shipped back to Britain for use by reputable London goldsmiths.  La Trobe’s golden testimonial was reported as being 170 ounces of native Victorian gold and, importantly, manufactured by native talent, Victorian goldsmiths Bond and Tofield under the supervision of the retailer, Mr Drew.  For these reasons alone, the gold cup is significant for Victorian State history.

The cup was 16 inches in height, with the inscription on the front and the arms of the Colony of the back.  It was decorated with solid figures of a digger (representing La Trobe’s friend Captain Brown) and a ‘native’ throwing a spear as well as an emu, kangaroo, sheep and gold nuggets.

CJLT 1854 Gold Vase2

The Illustrated London News, June 1854

While controversy surrounding the gold cup in 1853, in the 160th anniversary of its manufacture (which reputably took only two weeks), very little else is know about this golden piece of Victorian Colonial history.  Mystery now remains about the fate of the cup, as it seems to have vanished without trace.

While hypothesis abound on its fate – was melted down or does it remains in the dusty vaults of a European museum or an American private collection or was it shipped to a great exhibition and sold – it is hoped that renewed interest in La Trobe and Victoria’s golden past will uncover more information on the ultimate resting place of this unique piece of Victorian history.

If you have any information on the whereabouts or fate of the ‘gold’ testimonial, please contact the Andrew McIntosh from at or via the comment section below.


  • The Illustrated London News (London), 17 June 1854
  • The Argus (Melbourne, Vic), 28 December 1853
  • Czernis-Ryl, Eva (ed.), 2011, Brilliant: Australian Gold and Silver 1851-1950, Powerhouse Publishing
  • Hawkins, John, 2001, Australian Goldsmiths’ Work 1834-1950, The World of Antiques & Art December 2000 – June 2001 60th Edition
  • Wellington Independent, Rōrahi IX, Putanga 867, 1 Huitanguru 1854, Page 4, download 3 November 2011, National Library of New Zealand,

Adapted from ‘La Trobe’s Golden Testimonial’, first published in the La Trobeana (journal of The C J La Trobe Society, Inc. Australia), Vol 10, No 3, November 2011, 48-49.