Our Slouch Hat Soldiers on show

Brothers in Arms

They served the same cause,

Fresh-faced boys departed,a new breed of diggers returned,

toughened by violent events.

They knew what was expected of them,

battle savvy,

they backed each other,

fought off insanity with humour,

got the jobs done.

 

They witnessed events

no one should see,

did things they’d rather not talk of,

fought battles

long after they had ended.

And in this chasm of hell

A special breed of mateship grew.

Second World War 1939 – 1945.  Robert John Jarrad, Page 47, Slouch Hat Soldiers Generations at War, an Echoes Downunder publication, 2014.

Robert John Jarrad speaks about his poety at the Tea Tree Gully Library.

Robert John Jarrad speaks about his poety at the Tea Tree Gully Library.

When local retired engineer, military gunner, artist, didgeridoo player and writer Robert John Jarrad launched his first book of poems Slouch Hat Soldiers – Generations at War at the Tea Tree Gully Library in March 2014, there was standing room only.

Accompanied by illustrations from by internationally acclaimed military artist Barry Spicer, Robert’s collection of poignant war poetry focuses on Australians who enlisted when their country called.  Robert based his poems mainly on the powerful stories and images told to him by his nineteen relatives – including his father and grandfathers – who had enlisted and served in World Wars I and II, and in the Vietnam War. As we hear in his poem Brothers in Arms, Robert’s poems give us an insight into the harsh realities of war, but he also describes the mateship between soldiers and how they used humour to cope with their dire situation.

Robert hopes reading his poems may help a new generation of Australians to understand what it was like to go to war and how those who served were prepared to give their lives for their homeland that they loved. Moreover, they came back forever changed by their experiences.

Since the launch of Slouch Hat Soldiers – Generations at War, Robert Jarrad has toured around Australia, speaking to community groups about his book. He has been invited to several Centenary of Anzac events. In 2015, Robert’s poems, selected from his book Slouch Hat Soldiers-Generations at War, were performed at the Australian War Memorial’s ‘Of Words and War’ Anzac Centenary poetry event.

Now Robert’s literary achievement has been honoured once again. Some of his poems will feature prominently in the upcoming Wish me luck – an Anzac Centenary photographic exhibition, which pays tribute to South Australia’s World War II veterans. The exhibition is showing from 9 July to 11 September, in the Flinders University City Gallery, located within the State Library of South Australia on North Terrace.

Vale Clifford Brice

‘Poster boy’ for the Wish Me Luck exhibition, Vale Clifford (Cliff) Bryce sits aside his portrait.

Curated by Sharon Cleary (Veterans SA) and Louise Bagger (AIPP), the Wish me luck Exhibition has grown out a special nationwide project, which began on Anzac Day 2015. The Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) photographed Australia’s surviving World War II veterans, many of whom are now in their late nineties.  In South Australia 1050 portraits were taken over a seven month period.

Veterans SA is partnering with AIPP, Flinders University Art Museum and Atkins Photo Lab to present 100 photographic portraits of those who served in the Navy, Army, Airforce and Medical Corps from SA during WWII. Entry is free.  The Flinders University City Gallery is open Tuesday to Friday from 11am – 4pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12 – 4pm.

A series of public talks will accompany the ‘Wish me luck’ exhibition.  Come and hear Robert reading from Slouch Hat Soldiers on Sunday 4 September at 2.00pm at the Flinders University City Gallery.   RSVP essential to 08 8207 7055. Copies of Slouch Hat Soldiers – Generations at War, will be available for sale.  Part proceeds of all book sales will benefit Legacy.

Bob Jarrad Wish Slouch Hat SoldiersYou can also borrow Slouch Hat Soldiers – Generations at War through the One Card Network. Search the online catalogue or enquire next time you visit the Library.

Discover more about Robert Jarrad and his acclaimed book Slouch Hat Soldiers.  You can also explore the 100 Years of Anzac website.  Read more about the Wish me luck exhibition and Robert’s poetry reading.

A faithful ANZAC

Adrienne has a tried and true recipe for the perfect ANZAC biscuit. It comes from the book ‘Cookies, Biscuits and Slices of the World’ by Aaron Maree.

Makes 38-40.

Cookies, Biscuits and Slices

The original cookbook

Ingredients:

1 cup plain flour
120 g rolled oats
200g castor sugar
90g dessicated coconut
150g unsalted butter
50ml water
60g golden syrup
15g ground cinnamon
1.5 teaspoons baking soda

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease baking trays. Place sifted flour, rolled oats, sugar and coconut into a mixing bowl and lightly mix. Place the butter, water, golden syrup and cinnamon into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the baking soda to the boiling liquid and stir quickly to allow the mixture to foam up. Pour immediately into the dry ingredients and mix well.

Take heaped spoonfuls of the mixture and roll into balls. Place on the prepared trays leaving 3-4cm between each Anzac for spreading. Press each ball flat with the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven 10-15 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven.

Slide a spatula under each Anzac to loosen but leave to cool on the tray. If the Anzacs are not easily loosened return the tray to the oven for a further minute. Store in an airtight container until ready for serving.

Anstey recommends: ANZAC Biscuits by Phil Cummings

To commemorate ANZAC Day, Anstey the Library’s resident mascot thought it might be fitting to review the children’s picture book ANZAC Biscuits, by South Australian children’s author Phil Cummings.

Anzac Biscuits by Phil Cummings

Anzac Biscuits by Phil Cummings

This touching story is about an Australian family torn apart by war. Set during the time of World War I, Rachel and her mother are at home on their farm in their warm and safe kitchen, while a young soldier is miles away across the ocean in the trenches of a cold dark battlefield.

“Let’s make some biscuits for Dad,” suggests Rachel’s mother, and she and her daughter begin to mix ingredients and set about baking biscuits.

With each turn of the page the story moves back and forth, from the warm family kitchen where Rachel and her mum are baking the special biscuits, to the cold bleak battlefield where the young soldier is struggling to stay warm.

Illustrator Owen Swan has done an amazing job with his pictures. The kitchen scenes are painted in warm yellow hues which contrast with the grey illustrations of the soldier’s world. As the scenes flit back and forth some clues are given to the identity of the young soldier. The final pages reveal the young soldier to be Rachel’s father and how he is very grateful for a gift from home.

“These are the best biscuits ever … Daddy will love them, won’t he?” said Rachel. And he did.

You can borrow Anzac Biscuits from the library here. There are lots of other books on ANZAC Day as well.