Old-but-new shed on military trail

A SHED destined for the Vietnam war is now basking in the Queensland sun after 45 years in storage at the Wallangarra Army base on the New South Wales border.

The shed that was to be used as a soldiers’ mess hall on the battlefields of Vietnam now stands proudly at the beach-side town of Toogoom located 16km from Hervey Bay.

Toogoom and District RSL Sub Branch president Ken Higgins said the shed was among hundreds manufactured for the Australian Army during the Vietnam conflict that ran between 1962 and 1972.

“These sheds were widely used as food and recreation halls,” the Vietnam Veteran said.

“At Nui Dat  we had one the same as this with a veranda at each end. We played darts at  one end and at the other the corporal ran the bar.

“By 1971, Australia was starting to pull out of Vietnam. These sheds were still being manufactured and stockpiled at Wallangarra. Many became surplus.

“We got onto this one through military contacts and just before last Anzac Day (2014) the army built it as an exercise, sending a dozen soldiers, an engineer and a cook up here.”

The Toogoom Community Hall became an small army base where the soldiers showered and ate while camping nearby during the construction period.

Local volunteers painted the building and lined it with the hardwood tongue and groove packing cases in which it came.

“The hardwood timber we put in added to the bracing. It’s so strong that it’s cyclone proof and authorities want to use it as an emergency centre,” Mr Higgins said.

“It’s self-contained and wired for a generator. If the power goes out we just turn the generator on and everything runs as normal.

“So if we do have a disaster such as flood or cyclone, people can at least come here, get a meal and be comfortable out of the weather.”

Officially opened on Sunday, June 14, 2015, the old-but-new shed is a tribute to the Vietnam War.

“The Toogoom sub-branch is proud of its new home,” Mr Higgins said.

“It is expected to be on the proposed Fraser Coast Military Trail from Maryborough to Hervey Bay and Toogoom.

“This is not about talking war; there’s nothing glorious about war. We want to make this a pleasant, enjoyable place to come to and be used by all and sundry.

“Cadets will use it and we plan to run community health programs and have speakers come here to talk about such things as rural fire fighting and first aid.

“Since we got our shed, men’s shelters, sporting clubs and Scouts have been putting them up in other places across Australia.

“It’s amazing that in 2015 as we commemorate 100 years since the Gallipoli landings and 50 years since the middle of the Vietnam war, these sheds built by Lysaght then are now seeing daylight and that company is still one big family.

“It’s a pretty impressive performance. The steel came out of the packing in good nick – there was no rust. Almost everyone who comes in says: ‘Just look how thick that steel is!'”

The Vietnam memorial at Toogoom is expected to be a highlight on the proposed Fraser Coast Military Trail that also takes in Maryborough’s military museum, cenotaph and memorial gates, airport, air raid shelter and Duncan Chapman Memorial as well as the Z Force training ground on Fraser Island.




Quilt and craft extravaganza in Maryborough

THESE chilly nights are perfect for snuggling under the exquisite patchwork quilt being given away at the Heritage City Quilt and Craft Extravaganza on Saturday and Sunday, June 20 and 21.

Created and donated by Leanne Greenhalgh of Patchwork on Pallas, the machine embroidered and quilted work of art will take centre stage at the Maryborough Town Hall over the two-day charity event, hosted by the Rotary Club of Maryborough Sunrise.

Rotary president Robyn Dowling said Ms Greenhalgh had generously donated the valuable quilt to help raise money for local projects such as providing dolls for dementia care and books for children in need.quilt

“Timber City Motors has kindly donated a car service worth $250 for another raffle winner plus everyone who visits the quilt show that’s aimed at inspiring people to create quilts and crafts will also be supporting local charities with their entry fees,” Mrs Dowling said.

Ms Greenhalgh said she pieced together and machine stitched the quilt in her spare time over about a month. Condensed, the hours would equal a full working week.

“This quilt is a new design by Tracey Sims, a designer from Brisbane who visits my shop annually. She first came here to take a folk art class when I opened 13 years ago,” Ms Greenhalgh said.

“Tracey now digitises her paintings and converts them into machine embroidery designs. Her quilts, embroideries and artwork have been featured in many publications in Australia, USA and the UK.

“This quilt is my interpretation of a design from Tracey’s new book titled Botanical Blues.

“It’s quite valuable and would retail for at least $1500. There’s over $400 worth of thread in it alone and to have this amount of quilting done, you’d pay about $450.”

Ms Greenhalgh said her students had been using the quilt for inspiration to create their own designs in time for the Heritage City Quilt and Craft Extravaganza.

“I’ve asked them to showcase their best quilts made this year in the quilt challenge.

“Their quilts will be displayed over the two days and viewers will be able to vote for their favourite quilt in the Viewers’ Choice award. The quilter with the most votes will win a $250 voucher donated by VanCootens Howard Drapery.

“At 1.15pm on the Saturday, ladies from the Patchwork on Pallas Social Group will hold a Show and Tell hoping to inspire others.”

Demonstrations throughout the weekend also include Accuquilt Go Cutter, English Paper Piecing, Machine Quilting, Design Transferring and Machine Embroidery. There will also be patchwork, crafts and scrapbooks stalls, a garage sale area and cake decorating demonstrations.

What:             Heritage City Quilt & Craft Extravaganza
Where:            Maryborough Town Hall
When:             9am to 4pm Saturday June 20; 9am to 3pm Sunday June 21
Cost:               $5; discount for groups; proceeds go to charity


Caption: Leanne Greenhalgh shows the Botanical Blues Quilt someone will win at the Heritage City Quilt and Craft Extravaganza.