Sunday, 3 May 2015

And it’s off to war we go

Australian Expeditionary Force. Broadmeadows. Breaking Camp prior to their departure for the front. From a stereographic slide by Geo. Rose. Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society. 

In this image we can see that the city of tents at Broadmeadows  is being dismantled. Those ‘crop circles’ you see in the centre of the image are actually the spaces where the tents once were, trimmed with wooden tent pegs. The men are sitting around on their bedrolls and belongings, finishing their meals (I’m sure those are spuds in one of those pots), reading the newspaper or having a chat. It must be later in the year now and at least one man has a scarf wrapped around his ears and part of his head to keep out the cold.

The camp doesn’t look as tidy as in earlier images, but very soon it will be empty space and the men and their belongings will be sailing for the war. Quite soon they will be surviving (or not) in the trenches of the Gallipoli Peninsula, and what quite possibly seemed at the time primitive conditions at Broadmeadows will transform in their minds into a month or two (or more) spent in a luxury holiday camp. 

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