On the eve of Anzac Day, Fryer Library Manager, Mr Simon Farley, travelled to Springsure, Central Queensland, to join descendants of the Fryer family for the official opening of a World War I exhibition featuring four Fryer brothers - William, Charles, Henry and John Denis (Jack).
The exhibition featured copies of the letters and postcards that were regularly sent home by the brothers and provide insight into their wartime experience. It also showed some of the medical equipment used during WWI, since three of the brothers returned from the war badly wounded and required ongoing treatment.
The originals of the letters are kept permanently in the Fryer Memorial Library of Australian Literature at UQ St Lucia. The library was founded in 1927 in honour of Jack Fryer, and is a rich store of books, manuscripts, photographs, theses, architectural drawings, oral histories and much more.
Mr Farley said it was wonderful to be able to spend time with members of the extended Fryer family:
I was honoured to be invited to join the Fryer family for this very special occasion. As Manager of a library named in honour of Jack Fryer, I do feel a connection with the family.
The exhibition was an opportunity to honour the four Springsure brothers who had fought in the First World War, and for the family to come together to remember them and share memories.
Mr Farley said it was also very special to be able to visit the grave of Jack Fryer.
Last year I was sent a photograph of Jack's grave; being able to visit it in person was extremely moving. Jack was only 27 when he died all those years ago and yet his legacy lives on in a very real way, in the Fryer Library.
Letters from the Fryer brothers can be viewed in the online exhibition JD Fryer: Student and soldier.
Memorial to Canon David Garland
Before travelling to Springsure, Mr Farley attended the unveiling of a memorial to honour World War I padre Canon David Garland. The memorial is located next to St Mary’s Church at Kangaroo Point, Brisbane.
Canon Garland was Chair of the Anzac Day Commemoration Committee that was formed in January 1916, and is considered one of the chief architects of the Anzac Day ceremony that we know today.