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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 27 February 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 27 FEBRUARY 2016 21 NEWS FEATURE of Lemnos Australian sisters with local villagers. Australian soldiers outside their tents, a box of Arnott’s biscuits at their feet - a reminder of home. There is one photograph of young Australian soldiers, now patients in the A1 ward of Evelyn's hospital on Lemnos. They stare into the camera, a few smiling and others more difficult to read. I wonder what suffering and horror they had witnessed and endured. The collection also includes photographs of moments of relaxation. There is one of an army band marching through the hospital, entertaining the nurses and soldiers. Another shows a group of diggers acting up at the Anzac Rest Camp at Sarpi, across the bay from the hospitals, and often visited by the Australian nurses. and another soldier standing with their hired donkeys, a village and the distinctive windmills of Lemnos behind them. There is one of a group of Anzacs, some But for me some of the on their donkeys, guided most important images are those featuring the interaction between the Anzacs and the local Lemnian community on the island. During the months that the Anzacs stayed on Lemnos, they spread out across the island, visiting its villages, kafenion and natural springs. Evelyn's collection adds to the evidence of this experience. We see a photograph of the 4th Battalion's Private Oscar Keyte, a dentist from NSW, by local Lemnian children, most likely on their way to Therma and its natural hot springs. Evelyn and many other Anzacs visited Portianou, one of the main villages on Lemnos. Her photographs Tents of Evelyn’s 3rd Australian General Hospital, Turks Head Peninsula, Lemnos, 1915. Across the bay is the Anzac Rest Camp at Sarpi. In the foreground local Greek villagers visit the hospital. PHOTO: EVELYN HUTT COLLECTION. children at their work in the village. There is a touching image of a local woman with her child talking to an Australian nurse and soldier beside a windmill above Mudros town. Despite the language barriers, the locals and their visitors were obviously able to communicate. Lemnos was a rural island, with villagers grinding a living from its earth. show the village houses Images reveal the hard life and lanes. One shows Australian nurses and soldiers with local women and children, entitled ‘Sisters - a day out’. Another is of a group of local village women and et there are others of the villagers at rest, a group of local men sitting in conversation, their dog at their feet, at the end of a day's work. Evelyn's collection also shows the religious life of Lemnos in an image of the highly-decorated screen in one of the local Greek Orthodox churches. These images are 100 ears old and yet are timeless. villag o i d e E a g an ly on O Th ye After the evacuation of the peninsula, Evelyn and the other Australian nurses departed Lemnos in January 1916 on their way to Egypt and beyond. When she pasted the last photographs of Lemnos in her album she wrote ‘Good-bye LEMNOS Island’. tim A th an an no the ed of she LEM Anzac soldiers on hired donkeys travelling on Lemnos, most likely on their way to the hot springs at Therma. Evelyn would go on to serve in Egypt, France, England and in Italy, her service at the latter earning her the Royal ser Eng her ear of the island - a farmer with his over-burdened donkey in a field, another ploughing a field and women washing in a local water source. Yet th Red Cross, 2nd Class. But she also records the streets and shops of the large and then cosmopolitan cities of Egypt. Her collection includes photographs of life in Egypt, its grand hotels and cafes, like Groppi's, the Nile and the pyramids. Many of these will resonate with those Greek Australian's with connections to Egypt and its former Greek community. Evelyn returned to Australia and was discharged in December 1919. But she never forgot Lemnos and the diggers she cared for. She wore the brooch given to her by the young dying digger and always remembered Matron Wilson. Evelyn's memorabilia and photographs are a great addition to the Australian archive of Greece's connection to the ANZAC story. Along with the collections of photographs of A.W. Savage held in the State Library of NSW and University of Queensland, as well as the thousands of images held in the Australian War Memorial, Evelyn's collection underscores the important impact that Lemnos had on the thousands of ANZAC soldiers and nurses who went there over 100 years ago. AN APPEAL It was an honour for me recently to assist Evelyn's family in the donation of this amazing collection to the State Library of Victoria to ensure its preservation and accessibility to a wider public and future generations. This is an urgent re- minder of the need to preserve these fragile records of the Hellenic link to Australia's ANZAC story. I am convinced that there could be many other similar collections of photographs, diaries, letters and other memorabilia lying forgotten in boxes and sheds across Australia. Many such collections have already been lost, often discarded unknowingly after the death of a veteran nurse or soldier. Time is running out to save what remains. I urge anyone with an ANZAC veteran in their family history, nurse or soldier, to find out if any such items exist and to consider donating them to a public institution - like the State Library of Victoria - which is able to both preserve them and also to make them available, often digitally, to a wider public. This should be one of the legacies of the Centenary of Anzac. * Jim Claven is a historian and freelance writer. Secretary of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee, he has worked to have the new Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial in Albert Park erected. He is currently preparing a new and major commemorative publication telling the story of the Hellenic link to Anzac in the words and photographs of the Anzacs themselves. The photographs of Evelyn Hutt will feature in this publication. He acknowledges the assistance of Evelyn's daughter, Ms Judith Gunnarsson, and granddaughter, Ms Deb Stewart, in researching this story.
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