Armidale Folk Museum explores this region’s experiences during World War I with a new exhibition commemorating the centenary of Armistice Day to open at 11.30am from Sunday November 11 to February 3.
Examining the themes of sorrow, celebration and social change, it invites visitors to reflect on sacrifices made by local citizens during the First World War. The exhibition features memorabilia of local events surrounding the signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918, ending four years of brutal conflict. It includes photographs of peace parades in Armidale streets, showing the jubilation felt by the community on hearing the news.
Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray said the exhibition would provide a space for visitors to reflect upon the sacrifice made by local citizens during the war.
“Almost 62,000 Australians died fighting for our freedom and in service of our nation," he said.
“Within minutes of the declaration of armistice, Armidale streets were thronged with celebrating citizens.
“The Armidale City Band appeared in Beardy Street and struck up the national anthem, with the Mayor leading the cheer for all those that had helped to bring victory. Bunting and flags were hung from houses and shops, with ‘welcome home’ events planned for returning sons, husbands and fathers.”
Cr Murray said the war also brought many social changes and served as a catalyst for social support.
“The establishment of associations to care for returned soldiers, widows and children came as a result of the need to support those directly and indirectly affected by the war,” he said.
The Returned Soldiers’ Club was established in the Armidale School of Arts Hall - now the Armidale Folk Museum - and provided a space for men to gather, share their stories and socialise. It was supported by fundraising and donations from the community and held regular socials in the town hall.