A POIGNANT and endearing exhibition has been unveiled by Cooma Library to mark the centenary since the outbreak of World War One (WW1).
August, 4, 1914 will be remembered as a sobering day in international history as Britain responded to Germany's invasion of Belgium by declaring war.
From this point forward a relatively young Australian nation was drawn into the European conflict, as thousands of men promptly enlisted to serve in the Australian Imperial Force.
The exhibition pays homage to the men from the Monaro who answered their nation's call, leaving the comfort of home for the unknown dangers overseas.
Cooma lost 53 men in WW1, their stories and those of the men who returned are displayed in the exhibition. The library has compiled an extensive database of the personal and military records of Cooma's servicemen.
It was the war suppose to end all wars, it was meant to be over before Christmas 1914. Instead nine million lives were lost in the futile attempt for European domination.
61, 000 Australians didn't return to the families they left behind. Their bodies scattered through Western Europe and along the Turkey peninsula.
The exhibition coincides with Family History Month, an opportunity for people to delve into the past, unlocking the stories of their relatives.
Cooma and the Monaro regularly feature in the WW1 history pages, most notably for the Men of Snowy River March which formed a series of recruiting marches across the state designed to increase the number of men enlisting in the war effort.
Ernest Albert Corey joined the march in January 2016. The Numeralla born lad went on to become the only Allied soldier to be awarded the Military Medal (MM) with three bars, meaning he was awarded the medal four times.
The MM was awarded for his actions at Queant, near Bullecourt in northern France in May, 1917. His first bar came in September, 1917 and the other two bars in 1918 for his stretcher bearer duties in rescuing wounded men under intense enemy pressure.
Another Cooma soldier featured in the exhibition is that of Monaghan Raymond Hayes who was the first Cooma soldier to fall in the war. He was part of the Australian Light Horse company in Gallipoli, where he passed away on July, 31, 1915.
Throughout August the exhibition will be open, recognising an important part of our local history.