Great War medallions up for grabs

To commemorate the centenary of The Great War, Stawell Times News and Ararat Advertiser readers will be given the opportunity to win some fantastic prizes.

Once again, the Stawell Times News and Ararat Advertiser will be offering readers a chance to win commemorative Sands of Gallipoli medallions in a special Anzac Day competition.

Adding to the promotion this year, the lucky participant will also secure The Great War Memory Penny Diaries, especially created to bring the story of the Great War to life for modern readers.

This is the premier collection of Great War tales and insights with aspects of the war and home life discussed through the eyes of John Murray, a 19 year old Sydneysider who will leave his life at home and travel the path of the Great War with his notebook and pen in hand.

An extract from John Murray's first diary entry is published below.

All readers have to do to be in the running to win the Sands of Gallipoli medallions and Memory Penny Diaries, is to simply write in 200 words or less, what Anzac Day means to them.

Include your entry in an envelope, marked Great War competition. Be sure to include your name, address and contact number. Send your entries in to the Stawell Times News at 58 Main Street, Stawell, or the Ararat Advertiser 3 Ligar Street, Ararat. The competition closes next Wednesday, April 30 and winners will be notified.

The diary extract:

"My dear brother, it has been some months since my last journal and I fear I may leave off news of all that has happened in this part of your absence. More so, I missed opportunity to meet the departure from Sydney of the steamer Malaita, so will need to hold this volume till she returns from her passage to the islands which will be some months away.

Events at home are for the most favourable and my tardiness in compiling the news driven mainly by my hours at Bravely & Sons and my Citizen Forces duties with the lads of the 21st Infantry. There was no word from you with Malaita so I can only assume and hope you are well and surviving the wilds of the islands and trade is good. I find it hard to believe that it is now 18 months since you were at home.

On my personal endeavours, my wanting to become a journalist with the Sydney Morning Herald has not eased but Mr Manning, who seems to control all editorial jobs at the paper, says persistence is the first mark of a newspaperman.

I applied again in January. I think he takes some joy in refusing me, but I should continue to apply at each intake. I cannot understand why I should be made to wait; I feel my writing exceeds the abilities of many at the paper.

Whilst journalism is my desire, Mr Manning pays considerable attention to my illustrations and says maturity of years only enhances the artist's view. I would consider the life of an illustrator if that were my door to the newsroom. Nonetheless, I will keep trying and for the time will continue at the stock and station agents which although tedious, does afford me insight to the heart of our country, and the people I encounter are rich in stories of the bush and land. I will be 20 at the next newspaper intake and should I fail I fear may be too old to start what will be four years as a junior. Perhaps I will be mature enough for Mr Manning to consider me as an illustrator.

You will notice I have taken to typing my letter. This is a most exciting development. I have wanted a machine for some time. Father secured an almost new Corona 3 portable machine from an American tobacconist in George Street.

The fellow supplies Father's tobacco stock and recently visited America. He paid 50 American dollars for the machine, some 11 pounds, but found it completely unsatisfactory for compiling ledgers upon his return.

Father, sporting my journalistic ambitions, offered eight pounds which the fellow jumped at. It is a splendid machine and accompanies me everywhere. I will repay Father at a rate of five shillings each pay.

I look forward to again seeing you, and in the meanwhile trust you will find the journal enjoyable and informative.

;Your loving brother

John Murray"

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