The Roberts’ Family Connection
To William and Alban Marshall
When my mother and father, Lyn and Chris Roberts, retired, they moved to Biggenden, 100km west of Bundaberg. Mum’s family were from the region especially around Gayndah. A distant relative, Myrtle Anderson, who lived in Biggenden, asked mum if she would like ‘The Box’ as it had been found under a bed and was destined for the dump. Mum opened it to discover a collection of World War One memorabilia relating to her great uncles Alban Marshall and William Marshal (Jn). It appears that her great grandfather William Marshal (Sn) had gathered into the box many of the letters, postcards, photographs and other memorabilia sent home by his sons while at war. ‘The Box’ also contains documents and a seaman’s book from William Marshal senior’s time in the Qld Navy in the 1880’s to 1890’s. Mum, Lynette Roberts (Nee Ernst), her mother was Nell Ernst (Nee Preston), her mother was Gladys Preston, and Gladys is the sister of Alban and William Marshall(Jn), daughter of Julia and William Marshal (Sn).
When mum showed me “The Box” it was an amazing experience, holding in my hands documents and relics from World War 1, some over 100 years old. We decided quickly that this material needed to be saved, these men needed to be remembered. I asked mum if I could take ‘The Box’ to Emmaus College in Rockhampton where I worked as it would be invaluable primary material for History and other classes. It was at this time that the 100 year celebration of WW1 offered a chance to do more with the material through an ANZAC grant. Chris Champion, Head of Social Sciences, was a driving force and with money from the ANZAC grant, the Emmaus College P&F and Emmaus College itself, four projects were undertaken: The material has been catalogued and preserved, a Website has been developed, a short Documentary filmed and a Musical based on the contents has been written and performed.
It is with much sadness that mum passed away mid-2016, she would have been so happy and proud of what has been created to preserve the memories of William and Alban, without her forethought in accepting the box and her want to preserve its contents none of this would have been possible.
At the end of 2017, the Roberts family will be donating “The Box” and its contents to the State Library to be preserved for future generations.
Lynette Mary Ellen Roberts
12th May 1947—25th July 2016
Remember the beauty of the flower and treasure the joy it brought’