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Heartbreaking loss of history

Victor outside Diggers on Sunday. PHOTO TWH

The loss of historic memorabilia in the Diggers fire has had a deeply emotional impact on the community of Bourke.

The walls of the venue were adorned with original photographs donated by the families of Bourke servicemen and women who served in the Boar War, two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Aghanistan, and peacekeeping missions.

As well as the military history, Diggers showcased photographs of some of the important events that shaped the community. One photograph that was prominently displayed was, ironically, images of the North Bourke pub when fire razed it to the ground more than a decade ago.

That “Northy” is only now being re-built.

Bourke RSL President, Victor Bartley, spoke for many when he said he was devastated by the loss of the entire historic collection at Diggers.

“The sorrow I feel is not only for what happened but for the families of those people who gave me that memorabilia and artefacts – original photos from the First and Second World Wars, original paintings,” Mr Bartley said.

“People say you can replace it, but you can’t, you can’t replace originals and memories.

“I feel for those people, I feel for the staff who’ve lost a place to work, for Phillip and Anne-Marie, for their commitment in restoring the old RSL to what it was in honour of Phil’s grandfather and great uncles and all those from the Bourke Shire who served in those wars.

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