World War 1 in Colour
Recently, we were delighted to receive a copy of The digger’s view : WWI in colour edited and collated by Juan Mahony. (New Lambton, N.S.W. The Digger’s View Pty Ltd, 2014. ) for our collections. This book was kindly donated by the author who has brought to life two of our black and white photos taken by soldiers during the First World War. The following report was written by Mr Chris Bourne, a team member who has a special interest in military history.
The black and white photos right and below are from the Cultural Collections’ files and were recently included by Juan Mahoney in his latest First World War publication, The digger’s view : WW1 in colour. Juan and his team have skilfully coloured the images digitally with an emphasis on detail to really bring some life into these old photos. The two photos Juan chose from our collections were: a fund raising/recruitment drive for the 35th Battalion featuring a horse and cart from Scott’s Ltd on the corner of Hunter and Wolfe Streets, Newcastle (https://www.flickr.com/photos/uon/1309441586/) and; Major (later Colonel) Brent Burnell Rodd 9th Brigade, First AIF, 1917 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/uon/2414943169/). The before and after images of the Scott’s Ltd photo are shown below.
Major Brent B. Rodd was himself from Newcastle and an officer in both the 35th and 36th Battalions during the war. Much of his family and military history is held here at Cultural Collections.
Along with hundreds of photos the book also includes many letters written in the trenches, by Australia soldiers fighting in Gallipoli and later Belgium and France. This combination gives an interesting insight to a very tragic chapter of history that could hardly be imagined by anybody who wasn’t actually there. Mateship, humour and induced indifference were some of the ways for these men to escape the horrors without going totally insane.
As Juan Mahoney is from Newcastle many of the published letters and photos that have been collated are from people throughout the Hunter Valley Region. The 9th Brigade of the AIF features prominently as it was made up of 33rd Battalion (New England’s own), 34th Battalion (Maitland’s own), 35th Battalion (Newcastle’s own) and 36th Battalion, which was also formed and trained in Newcastle.
Cultural Collections at the University of Newcastle Library has collected and digitised hundreds of images of the First World War which are available to the public via the Flickr website.
This is the second occasion Cultural Collections has been able to assist Juan. His first publication, From the Home Front to the Front Line: Images of the Great War also featured a number of photographs from our collections.