Lower River paid heavy price in war

A BOOK commemorating the involvement of the Lower Clarence in the First World War will be launched by the Maclean District Historical Society tomorrow.

From Cane Fields to Battlefields author Carolyn Cameron said that like most places in Australia during World War One, the Lower Clarence (from Brushgrove, Cowper, Lower Southgate and Lawrence down to Yamba, encompassing both sides of the river and its arms), was not slow in providing recruits.

"The impact this made on the area and the toll this took on both soldier and family is immeasurable," Ms Cameron said.

"The book documents the course of the war as seen through the eyes of local soldiers and their families at home, using local newspaper articles, letters, diaries and other ephemera collected by the returned soldiers and also by the loved ones of those who did not return."

Around 830 names have been collected for the book, but Ms Cameron noted it may not be the completed list of those who served.

"Researchers who helped with the book tried to collect as much information as they could about anyone who was born, worked lived or had any family connection with the Lower Clarence, during that time," she said.

"In the electoral roll for that period, a number of approximately 3500 names are recorded (including women).

"Assuming one third of those enrolled were women, and this is a very conservative figure, this means almost one third of the available men in our area enlisted."

The book launch of From Cane Fields to Battlefield will be held at the Maclean District Historical Society, cnr Wharf and Grafton St, from 10am tomorrow.

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