Thursday, 4 December 2014

Bourke and District Patriotic Fund

During World War II the service men and women received support from their communities throughout Australia as is shown through the following selections from the Western Herald published in Bourke, New South Wales. Patriotic Associations had been in existence since the Boer War and Patriotic Associations or Patriotic Funds were active in maintaining a link between the Diggers overseas and home. Fundraising was undertaken to present a gift to soldiers going overseas and gifts were also despatched overseas to the soldiers from time to time.

Roll of Honour
Below we give a list of recruits from Bourke and district as complete as we are able to report. Should relatives or friends know of any further enlistments will they kindly supply the names to the Town Clerk.
The following have already left Australia : — Corp. J. W. Barron. D. Haigh. C. Hunter, K. C. Moses. Corp. J. P.Perooz.
A list of 121 names(including the five names above) of men who had applied to enlist from Bourke and surrounding area is provided. Three  men who applied were not accepted.
Western Herald 28 June 1940

At the recent Annual General Meeting of the Bourke Patriotic Association, the following Report on the activities of the Association for the year was read: —
Gentlemen.— I wish to submit a report of the years working of the Bourke Patriotic Association. The year has been a busy one for this Committee, in giving send-offs to Soldiers and generally working for the benefit of our Diggers.

So far presentations numbering 45 have been made and in nearly all cases a function has been held and have been successful, and I am sure appreciated by the Diggers and their friends. Canteen Orders numbering 93 have been despatched and when names and addresses of other members of our local boys are received orders will be also sent.

One great difficulty still exists, it is not until the last moment that we are aware of recruits being despatched on Active Service, consequently the function of the presentation is a hurried one. If friends or parents or relations of the Boys would only advise the Secretary before they arrive on final leave it would assist the work of this Committee very considerably. Under the circumstances I think we have done exceedingly well to cope with the matter. We have to thank the various bodies that have contributed so well to wards the funds, and also to the Knitting Group for issue of socks and woollen goods. Thanks is also due to the Orchestra of Mr. T. D'Arcy's for playing for the functions free of charge, and to Mr. Kessey for use of Hall, and to the Ladies under the control of Mrs. Permewan for attending to the suppers at the Hall.

Although funds are still in hand I am of the opinion that a function should be held shortly so that we may have money in hand for requirements. Seeing that nearly 250 recruits have enlisted, the task of keeping up to necessary requirements is going to be a problem, but with the liberal aid of the people of Bourke and district who are always ready to help I do not fear that we shall be short of funds. Mr. Higgins has made a very nice gesture intimating that he will give 1/- for each presentation that is made by the Committee.

The accounts for the year have been audited and found correct. The administrative expenses were kept down to zero. The recruiting account has been transferred to the Patriotic Funds and recruits that require assistance are helped from this fund. An effort was also made for the Great Britain Civilian War Funds, and £131/5/1 was sent to Sydney for disbursement.

The Lord Mayor's Fund has now been closed and all matters are dealt with by this body. A donation of £10 was recently made towards the funds of the Womens All Canteen Association, who do great work in helping the boys and providing refreshment at the Central Station, in Sydney.

In the matter of salvage, this was taken in hand by a Committee consisting of Messrs Heads and Permewan, and one load of old material has been despatched. There should, be plenty more in the district, and supplies can be sent to the Council Waterworks for safe custody. I desire to place on record my appreciation of the support of the Committee during the years working. It has been a pleasure to work with you gentle men.
I wish to finally conclude by expressing the thanks of this Association to the Secretary, Mr. Heel who has worked very hard in carrying out the stupendous task of the organisation of the many functions of the Association. Thanks is also due to his Assistant, Mr. O'Mara, for the valued assistance that he has always rendered. Yours faithfully, S. C. COLEMAN, President.
Western Herald 18 April 1941

Many thanks for your canteen orders which arrived by air mail a few days ago. I can assure you they were very much appreciated by me and put to good use. I have seen quite a few of the Bourke boys since I have been over here. Stan, Douglas and Laurie Snell were in the machine gun company which supported us in Greece and Bob Cunningham was the driver of the truck which drove us to the transport. We are resting ever since we evacuated Crete. Kind regards to all Bourke and district.—
Pte, K. C. Moses.
Western Herald 26 September 1941
Pte. K. C. Moses writes as follows to the Patriotic Association: "I would like to thank you and the Patriotic Association for the excellent parcel and cake I received a few days ago. I can assure you that both of these gifts were warmly appreciated by myself, not only for their practical use, but for the spirit in which they are sent. You and your fellow workers are doing a great job in keeping these comforts up to us, and I know you would be rewarded for your troubles if you could only see the eagerness in which your parcels are opened. At the moment I am doing a freeze up in Syria, we had a fall of about six inches of snow last night which is now in the process of thawing out, with the result that all the boys are togged up in full army issue, plus many extra woolen articles of their own. The way the sky looks tonight, I think we are in for another fall, so on form up- to-date, it looks as if we are in for a real English Xmas."
Western Herald 9 January 1942
During the past week a number of Bourke boys have been home on leave, including a few who saw Service overseas. Amongst the latter were -Driver E. A. Holland, Pte. A E Boyd, Pte. Ken Moses and Pte. J. Tully. All these were welcomed by the Patriotic Association and presented with canteen orders.
Western Herald 29 May 1942

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