It was a beautiful day here today in Braidwood, New South Wales.
The day before ANZAC Day.
Outside the 134 Coffee Shop, there were some brochures produced by the Braidwood RSL. I sat down with my two grandchildren, Ivy and Jolyon to read about Robert Geelan.
Robert was one of the 88 young men that left Braidwood for the First World War and did not return. (Braidwood RSL has a record of each of these young men in a project completed in 2015.)
Robert was 32 when he died in Belgium at the Menin Road on 20 September 1917. He enlisted on 31 July 1915 and was one of three members of his family (his father and brother were the other two) that went to the battlegrounds of the First World War.
Robert was from the Araluen valley near Braidwood a very long way from the Menin Road. Robert was wounded on the Western Front in 1916 but returned to the front lines.
The brochure gave the three of us the opportunity to talk about Robert and what it must have been like to be so far from home. Ivy and Jolyon think Araluen is a very long way from Braidwood so Robert’s journey was unimaginable. I explained that he also travelled by ship to get there.
Ivy and Jolyon will be walking in the ANZAC parade tomorrow with their school friends. This year they will be thinking about a boy from Araluen that left for Europe 103 years ago with his friends.
Araluen Valley (Grahemec, CC BY-SA 4.0)