Significant Local History Collection Donated to Legacy
by Suzanne Curry, Hobart Legacy
A morning tea was held at Government House earlier this year to acknowledge a significant collection of artefacts belonging to Major General Sir John Gellibrand KCB, DSO & Bar. Hosted by Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner, AC, (now ex) Governor of Tasmania, the collection was donated to Hobart Legacy by Margaret U Brown OAM. Mrs Brown, the widow of John Gellibrand, grandson of Sir John Gellibrand, expressed her delight at being hosted by the Governor and on the collection coming to Hobart Legacy.
Sir John Gellibrand is an important figure in Tasmania’s military history. His illustrious career started when he was appointed to the First Imperial Force as a captain on the staff of the 1st Division. He landed at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915, serving in the Gallipoli Campaign. In March 1916, he was promoted to brigadier general and led the 6th Infantry Brigade in the Battle of Poziéres and Second Battle of Bullecourt. He was promoted to major general on 1 June, 1918, commanding the 3rd Division in the Battle of Amiens and the battle of the Hindenburg Line.
After Gellibrand returned home, he felt more needed to be done to help returned soldiers. In 1923, he organised the first meeting of the Remembrance Club in Hobart. The Hobart Club inspired the formation of Legacy Australia, which has become a national movement to the care of ex-servicemen’s widows and their families. In 2023, Hobart Legacy will commemorate 100 years of enduring service to these families.
Charles Bean (Australia’s famous WW1 war correspondent and historian) wrote in 1944 that “coming back to the great and good man from whose original work it all sprang – there was a time when some of us thought that the best monument to John Gellibrand might be the story of Second Bullecourt. Now I feel there will be an even better – the record of Legacy.”
The donation includes Sir Gellibrand’s fob watch, desk clock, photos, negatives from 1915, and a large black metal box inscribed with his name. It will form part of Hobart Legacy’s Centenary commemorations in 2023.