Our Diggers remembered

Mayor Bronwen Machin, youngster Mitchell Stephens and Castlemaine RSL president John Whiddon unveil the memorial plaque in honour of Mitchell's great-great-great uncle Walter Peeler VC. Photo: Max Lesser
Mayor Bronwen Machin, youngster Mitchell Stephens and Castlemaine RSL president John Whiddon unveil the memorial plaque in honour of Mitchell’s great-great-great uncle Walter Peeler VC. Photo: Max Lesser

Good crowds turned out at the Castlemaine Remembrance Day service and events across the region on Sunday November 11 to mark the centenary of the Armistice that ended World War I.
Community members were moved to tears as local singer Maggie Jackson shared a song she had written especially for the occasion, We Remember, which highlighted the service and sacrifice of Australian soldiers.
Guest speaker Hetty Veldman also spoke of the terrible toll of ‘The Great War’, which claimed the lives of 62,000 Australians and impacted many more.
“The wives of those who did come home said their men were never the same again,” Ms Veldman said.
She said the armistice was delayed several hours and in that time another 8000 soldiers were injured and 2738 died, with the last solider killed at two minutes to 11.
At 11am church bells across the region sounded to mark the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice, which finally saw the guns fall silent after four horrific years of bloodshed.
On Sunday afternoon the centenary events continued with the unveiling of a memorial plaque to honour Walter Peeler VC by Mount Alexander Shire Council mayor Bronwen Machin at Barkers Creek Recreation Reserve.
Walter Peeler was born at Barkers Creek in 1887. He volunteered to serve with the AIF and saw action on the Western Front. On October 4, 1917, near Ypres in Belgium, his conspicuous bravery during a successful advance earned Walter the shire’s only Victoria Cross.
The day closed with a special Remembrance Day church service and performance by the Castlemaine Highland Pipe Band at Christ Church on Agitation Hill.

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