WWI returns to the South Coast: historical course

THERE will be no escaping World War I over the next five years as the centenary of this cataclysmic conflict is being marked by thousands of new books, films and television programs, exhibitions, tours and other events.

The South Coast of NSW will not be spared because more than 1000 men from the area enlisted, over 200 lost their lives, and the local community was deeply affected by the war.

In fact, the South Coast was perhaps the only area in Australia to which German hostilities extended.

The German raider SMS Wolf had laid mines along the NSW South Coast and on July 15, 1917, the merchant vessel Cumberland – in all likelihood while transporting war materials to England – struck one of these off Gabo Island and subsequently sank about 8km south-east of Green Cape.

A course reviewing WWI and focussing on Australia’s involvement and the effect the war had on the South Coast is being held in Bermagui for eight weeks from February 6.

It is being led by local WWI historian Peter Lacey in conjunction with U3A Bermagui.

It will be in CTC Room 1 located behind the Bermagui Visitors Centre on Thursday mornings with one 90-minute session each week.

The cost of the eight-week course is just $10 plus (if applicable) $20 for membership of U3A Bermagui.

Places are limited, so advance enrolment is essential. This can be completed at Bermagui Country Club on Wednesday, January 29 from 10am to noon, or by phoning Peter on 6493 8529.

Peter promises this to be a more interesting course than the usual school history course.

“It is enticingly simple, full of quirky things about the war, and there are lots of opportunities to discuss aspects of WW1 of particular interest to participants,” Peter said.

“It’s a course everyone should join to fully understand what happened in WWI and why it happened.

“Then everything we are about to see and hear about WW1 over the next five years will be a lot more meaningful to us.”

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