QR codes tell new stories for Gayndah Sub Branch

21 January 2023

The technology is bringing the history of local soldiers to life.

Woman using Gayndah Cenotaph QR code RSL Queensland

The QR codes allow visitors to learn more about local soldiers

A new dimension has been added to the Gayndah Cenotaph and other sites around the town, thanks to the innovative addition of QR codes. 

The idea was first sparked in the mind of Gayndah RSL Sub Branch member Keith Wrench in 2021. With support from Amanda Wenck and the team at Truth Designs, the names of soldiers on the cenotaph have been brought to life with a QR code that shares historical information about them through storytelling. 

Keith says the inspiration for the project came after attending the 42 for 42 Afghanistan Memorial unveiling in Brisbane in October 2021. 

“I saw the QR codes at the memorial that let visitors find out more information about each soldier and I thought, ‘What a wonderful idea!’,” he says. 

“I thought it would be fantastic for cenotaphs to put an actual person to these names.” 

The QR code takes visitors to stories about local soldiers gathered from their records and family members. 

The project was made possible through a Charitable Objects Fund grant and Gayndah RSL Sub Branch. The grants, administered by RSL Queensland, provide Sub Branches with the opportunity to deliver projects that continue to support veterans.

Gayndah Cenotaph Keith Wrench RSL Queensland

Gayndah RSL Sub Branch member Keith Wrench, who had the idea of adding a QR code to the cenotaph

The QR codes launched in time for ANZAC Day 2022 and Keith says the response from members and the wider Gayndah community has been positive.  

“We’ve got about seven or eight QR codes now around the town, including one at the local high school. History teachers have been using it, as it shares some of the military history of the local area,” he says.  

“The information on the website lets you find out more about each soldier. For example, Private Walter Cooper enlisted in Brisbane in July 1916 at just 16 years old.  He stated on his enlistment papers that he was 18 years. He was charged with making a false declaration and was killed in action in October 1917. This is the kind of background story we’re able to share with the community through the QR codes.” 

Gayndah cenotaph roll of honour

The Gayndah RSL Sub Branch is encouraging other Sub Branches to use QR codes

Unlike a book, the QR project is ongoing and everchanging as more information becomes available to Keith.  

“We’ve presented to the District to share our lessons from launching the projects and we’re hoping that other Sub Branches might come on board to use the same technology to share stories about soldiers, veterans and military history in their own communities,” Keith says.  

“It would be great to see this on every cenotaph. 

“At the bottom of each web page we have our contact details, so anyone reading who has information about any of the personnel on the website can contact us to add to their story.”  

Any Sub Branch wishing to do the same for their cenotaph is welcome to contact Keith to discuss their options. The Sub Branch may wish to do it themselves, or Keith and the team at Truth Designs can do it for them. 

Anyone with information about soldiers from the region or Gayndah’s military history can reach out to Keith via email at k.wrench@bigpond.com.

 

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Tags:
  • History & commemoration
  • Veteran stories