World War One Gallery-
In the Society’s photographic collection there are more than 400 images of men and women of the Yass district who enlisted during the Great War. On the ninetieth anniversary of the cessation of hostilities, as a tribute to them and all Australians who were involved in that conflict, we have compiled a gallery of the images. It is a work in progress and further images and information will be added from time to time. The majority of the collection came about when local photographers Howard and Shearsby advertised in the Yass Courier in May 1915 for relatives of enlisted men and women to allow him to copy family photographs. The images were intended for display in the window of their premises.Howard and Shearsby photographed many local men and women before they departed on active service however a good number of the images are copies of photographs taken by other photographers. A significant number were taken by Sydney photographers prior to embarkation and others originated in studios from as far away as Belfast, Northern Ireland!Alfred Shearsby, was a creative photographer who assembled montages, particularly of siblings, to produce family groups.
In addition to his photographic skills, he earned the respect of both the local and wider communities through his work in other fields. He was held in high esteem for his work as an amateur geologist which brought him into contact with professional geologists from several countries and students from universities around Australia. A skilled illustrator and artist, he was frequently called upon to assemble presentation albums and illuminated addresses for visiting dignitaries. His interests were wide-ranging, as evidenced by his scrapbook held in the society’s archival collection – everything from exploration, flora, and fauna to astronomy and promoting the Yass district as the potential site for the national capital.
Most of the Howard and Shearsby images are taken from glass negatives, some of which had been damaged before they were taken into the Society’s collection. The images have been copied as they appear – some are mounted on timber, others appear to be experimental shots and many show significant damage but are largely intact.
The photographs are arranged alphabetically in galleries that can be keyword searched (Control + F and enter keyword). Basic information is included for identified photographs – surname, forenames, rank, service number, final unit, and fate ie returned to Australia (RTA), KIA (killed in action), DOW (died of wounds), DOS (died of illness) UNK (unknown).
Kangaroo March at Yass Mechanics’ Institute, Dec 1915. [YDHS Inc]
other images of service personnel have been added to the gallery. Some forty-two images of Yass men and women were reproduced on each of a series of six postcards which were then sold for 6d (5 cents) each. He also assembled a collection of images of Queanbeyan enlistees and reproduced at least four postcards. The postcards with a list of the service personnel featured will be added to the website in the near future. The selected images are listed alphabetically by surname and some images are of two or more soldiers. Images have been left uncropped showing the timber frame that appears in the original image.
A word of caution. Every effort has been made to identify individuals but this has been problematic. Names have, in most cases, been etched into the reverse of the negative but may not always be the individual named. There are also number of unidentified images. Any information as to the identity of the individuals will be greatly appreciated.
Alfred J Shearsby was the photographer who created most of the images in the impressive collection of WW1 portraits. [YDHS inc]
Should you wish to seek further information on World War One service personnel please consult the National Archives of Australia for Personnel Dossiers and
the Australian War Memorial for other biographical information. Many of those whose photographs appear in this gallery can be found in the publication ‘We have not forgotten’: Yass & District’s War by Cheryl Mongan and Richard Reid.
The book, written as a model for researching a community’s involvement in war, covers a broad range of subjects including enlistment, active service, the work of community
organisations, fundraising, personal correspondence, distribution of war trophies, honour rolls, commemoration and the aftermath of the war. Written in 1998 for the eightieth
anniversary it covers the area of readership of the local Yass newspapers and lists the names of almost 300 dead and nearly 1,200 who returned.
The publication is available from the society.
Yass Boys’ Comforts Fund workers, June 1918.[YDHS Inc]
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