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Ballarat Anzacs | Display | Talks | Research

04/04/2022 @ 10:00 am - 28/04/2022 @ 2:00 pm


At the outbreak of the war in August 1914 Ballarat men were quick to enlist. While most consider the Gallipoli landing on April 25th 1915 to be Australia’s first action of the war, Ballarat’s first casualty occurred on September 14th 1914 with the loss of the submarine AE 1 off the north coast of New Guinea. Crew member, John ‘Jack’ Messenger, became the first Ballarat serviceman to lose his life in what became known as the Great War.

Ballarat’s Avenue of Honour commemorates the service of 3801 men and women from the district, 758 of whom gave their lives, their sacrifice recognised on the National Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Among these were nurses Gertrude Munro and Blodwyn Williams, and George Merz, the first Australian pilot to lose his life in the war. Some were killed in desperately unlucky circumstances. William Paisley was killed by a lightning strike, Harold Dixon was struck by a train in Egypt, Otto Davies was run over by a horse drawn wagon while sleeping and Robert Geddes fell overboard on the trip home. In addition to those on the Roll of Honour, there were around 150 more who returned, and died in the years after the war, whose death was attributed primarily to their war service.

Many Ballarat ANZACs served with great distinction. For his gallantry at Lone Pine, Gallipoli, William Dunstan was awarded a Victoria Cross, the only Ballarat man to have received that award. Leslie Morshead and Albert Coates, both from Tress Street, Mt. Pleasant, served in WW1 then again in WW2 with such distinction that they were both awarded knighthoods. Sister Rachel Pratt was amongst the many from the Avenue of Honour who were awarded high level gallantry and service awards.

The Ballarat community took great pride in the service provided by its citizens, shown by the creation of the nationally significant Arch of Victory and Avenue of Honour. In recent years the Garden of the Grieving Mother was created to reflect the experience of so many people at home while their ANZAC sons and daughters were serving our country.

This display will chronical some of these stories.

The Display

  • The display will be during regular operating hours of the Library. 10am – 2pm weekdays and 9.30am – 12noon Saturdays. 
  • Research | Tuesday’s & Thursday’s | 12 noon – 2pm
  • Talks  | Thursdays’ at 11am
Arch of Victory c.1925 | Ballarat Mechanics' Institute Max Harris Photographic Collection MH 1211


Garry Snowden, President, Arch of Victory & Avenue of Honour will facilitate a talk on each Thursday of the display:

Thursday 7 April, 11am | BALLARAT ANZACS: Stories of Courage Sacrifice & Larrikinism | Garry Snowden

Thursday 14 April, 11am | BALLARAT ANZACS: Mining Mud & Medals | Yvon Davis

Thursday 21 April, 11am | BALLARAT ANZACS: The Arch of Victory & Avenue of Honour | Phil Roberts

Thursday 28 April, 11am | BALLART ANZACS: How Ballarat Remembers it’s ANZACS | Garry Snowden

These sessions are free, we would however appreciate registration of attendance, but walkins will be welcomed, each talk will be approximately 40 minutes.


Garry with the assistance of Neil Leckie from the Ballarat Ranger Military Museum and Yvon Davis will be available to assist with family research into Ballarat’s ANZACs in the Heritage Reading Room on Tuesdays & Thursdays between 12.00 and 2.00pm.

If you would like to take advantage of this opportunity please complete the enquiry form below: 

Special note: If you are expecting to take-away data from your research, please ensure you bring a USB stick or another form of electronic information storage.

Ballarat ANZACs Research Request > 

Mining Mud & Medals

Yvon Davis will be on hand to talk about this wonderful book by the members of the Ballarat based Victorian Interpretive Projects group. The book gives an insight into the tunnellers special role in World War One. The book will be on sale in the Library during the exhibition @ $33


Country Victoria’s Own | Neil Leckie

Traces the history of the Ballarat infantry and the units in major cities and towns that form the ‘predecessors’ referred to in the subtitle.

This book will be on sale in the Library during the exhibition @ $25 

Ballarat Mechanics’ Institute Heritage Collection

Items from the BMI Heritage Collection will be in display. If you would like further information on how to access our heritage newspapers and books please contact the Library on T: (03) 5331 2042 or E: library@ballaratmi.org.au

Service at the Ballarat New Cemetery | Thursday 21 April at 4pm

At service will take place at the Ballarat New Cemetery to acknowledge the provision of Office of Australian War Graves plaques for the previously unmarked graves of 19 Ballarat ANZACs. This event will be featured in the display and there will be information available regarding the self-guided ANZAC Heritage Walk at the Ballarat Old Cemetery.

The BMI wishes to acknowledge the support of:

Avenue of Honour & Arch of Victory.

Ballarat Ranger Military Museum

Ballarat General Cemeteries Trust


Ballarat RSL Sub Branch inc.

The BMI Heritage collection volunteers.


Arts and cultural activities

If you would like to provide feedback on BMI activities you have experienced or have suggestions on what you would like us to consider then we would like to hear from you. Please complete the feedback form. 

This workshop is a BMI Community Art Project – Ballarat’s Oldest Cultural Institution


04/04/2022 @ 10:00 am
28/04/2022 @ 2:00 pm
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BMI – Library and Heritage Room
117-119 Sturt Street
Ballarat Central, VIC 3350 Australia
+ Google Map
(03) 5331 3042