Is it Just Me or Does This Family Deserve to be Recognized in Glasshouse?
Is it just me or does everyone think most days, we have no idea how lucky we are?
This week the world commemorates 100 years since the signing of the armistice.
I am in France today, my on air partner Mark Darin and I will broadcast live from Villers-Bretonneux on Sunday. Along the way we are trying to shine a light on local families involved in the Great War. Last week I got an email from Brenda Breise who told me her great grandparents had six sons fight in World War 1.
The Gilvear family were Scottish born but moved to the Glass House Mountains.
Before war was declared, Thomas Gilvear ran a banana farm with his wife Christina. They had ten children.
In May 1916 Thomas Gilvear signed up with his six oldest sons, Thomas was 43.
A year later, one of the boys, James, applied for leave for ten days so he could go home and help his mum plant a crop. Christina was left at home to run the farm and mind the four younger children.
In the next year Christina Gilvear received telegrams with the news that three of her sons had been killed on the battlefields of France. Alexander was killed in 1917 at Bullecourt. Robert was killed in 1918 near Albert and Kenneth was killed in action in 1918 at Sailley le Sec.
Their father, Private Thomas Gilvear, requested a discharge from the Army so he could return to his wife.
On July 9, 1918, he received a letter from General Birdwood advising that due to the loss of his sons he was approved to return to Australia. The Brigadier-General noted that Thomas Gilvear had suffered more than his fair share for his country.
At the end of World War 1, Beerwah townspeople climbed Mt Coochin, and lit a celebration fire. In response, farmers all over the district climbed to the highest points on their properties and lit answering fires, “everywhere you looked there were bonfires on hilltops.”
Of course, three Gilvear sons would never again see their beloved Glasshouse Mountains. Three made it home wounded, including James who lost his leg. Brenda Briese told me the people of Glass House were so moved by Christina’s grief they had a brooch made with the battalion colours of each of her deceased sons. It was presented to Christina at a ceremony at Nambour in 1920.
Brenda still has that brooch but what she really wants is a memorial stone or plinth in Glasshouse, to honour the Gilvear family.
I don’t know the correct channels to help Brenda make that happen, but I have promised I will try.
We have no modern day reference for what happened to the Gilvear family but their sacrifice should never be forgotten.