WE REMEMBER: Graham Coles with an image of the old Dalby cenotaph when it was first erected.
WE REMEMBER: Graham Coles with an image of the old Dalby cenotaph when it was first erected.

Dalby RSL recovers time capsule with war memories

DALBY RSL sub-branch president Graham Coles still remembers the day he volunteered to fight in the Vietnam War, at just the tender age of 18.

Flicking through old newspapers and documents is what keeps the memories of the war alive for Mr Coles today, but 25 years ago the sub-branch members took a step further to immortalise the memories of the wars they served in.

On VP Day in 1995, a time capsule was buried outside the old Dalby RSL building, and last Saturday, 25 years later, the community recovered the old capsule to find a treasure trove of memories.

Among the findings in the capsule were five bottles of wine, books and photographs from community organisations like the Dalby Dolphins, and a single poppy to remember the fallen soldiers from Dalby, whose names line a wall-length plaque in the sub branch office.

"All the schools put in memorabilia, and books, and different people had put in different books," Mr Coles said.

As a history buff himself, Mr Coles has spent a lot of time researching all the wars, and wants to continue to immortalise the memories of the war, and his fellow Dalby locals who served.

Opening the time capsule was like opening a vault of historical information, and new findings he had never seen before.

"I like reading history and all that," he said.

"Just to read all of this stuff from Dalby, that's what I'm interested in.

"I've got people ringing me up all the time looking for war medals … I try and help people where I can."

One particularly interesting find, according to Mr Coles, was an old photo of the local women who served in the land army, first published in an old edition of the Dalby Herald.

"These days I don't think there'd be any of them left," he said.

"And I've never seen a photo before of the land army women.

"That was very interesting."

Mr Coles said now is the most important time to preserve the memory of our fallen servicemen and women.

"Lately we're losing those oldies," he said.

"A lot of our history is just dying out.

"That's the only way we can get much history is by picking up old newspapers … But we haven't got much left."

Mr Coles said the time capsule from '95, and any future time capsules they bury in the near future, will go a long way in immortalising the memories of those men and women who were lost all those years ago.

In a month's time, the sub branch will be planting another time capsule with memorabilia, and this will stay locked for another 25 years for the next generation to uncover.


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