Canowindra Stories

We’ve put together a few stories about the town and district...

All Saints' Anglican Church

- a short history of "The Church on the Hill"

Short Street Video

In this short video filmed in 2007, Berna Wright recalls the families of Short Street and their houses.

Jack Gant MM

Remembering Jack Gant MM.

Canowindra's shop fronts

A review of the story of the shop fronts and fittings in Gaskill Street from the pages of "Interior Fitout Magazine"...

Canowindra in the 1940s and 50s by Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly shares with us his memories of growing up in Canowindra in the 1940s and 50s...

Canowindra Soldiers Memorial Hospital

During June 2022, several functions were organised to celebrate the centenary of the opening of the town's hospital. Click here for the transcript of an address given by a CHSM member telling the story...

Canowindra in the Thirties and Forties

In August 1998 CHSM stalwart, Berna Wright then into her 70s, gave a talk to a Canowindra Red Cross Luncheon about her recollections of her life as an adolescent and young woman in a small country town, Canowindra. We are fortunate that someone had the presence of mind to record the talk. We are now able to share the transcript here...

Message in a Bottle (but "not sending out an SOS")

Angelo Laurenza (born 1918) was an Italian Prisoner of War (POW) at the Cowra Internment Camp during World War 2. He was about 23 when he was captured in Libya in October 1941 and had been a farmer in Caianello (CE) (about 60kms north of Naples). POWs who weren't officers were expected to do work where it was available, and locally many were assigned to farmers to partially alleviate the shortage of local agricultural workers. Mostly the placements of Italian POWs worked out well for both sides. They could escape the boredom of camp life, generally eat better and fraternise, to a greater or lesser extent, with "the locals". For the host farmer and their families an extra pair of hands (and often skills) to help with the never ending hard work of the farm was a welcome relief.

For many centuries a feature of POW life "out of hours" has been crafting of items for sale, barter, to send home to family as keepsakes, or as gifts. Italian POWs were no exception and Laurenza made a little treasure for a local resident, Violet Dawes, which we hold today in our collection. Visitors from MGNSW "discovered" the item and you can read the story at the MGNSW Storyplace site.

For much more on the story of Italian Prisoners of War in Australia visit the Footprints of Italian Prisoners of War website. There's also an active Facebook page.

Informazioni in italiano
Angelo Laurenza (nato 1918 Caianello (CE)) era un Prigioniero di Guerra Italiano (POW) nel Campo di Internamento di Cowra durante la Seconda Guerra Mondiale. I POW che non erano ufficiali dovevano svolgere lavori dove fossero disponibili e, a livello locale, molti di loro venivano assegnati agli agricoltori per alleviare parzialmente la carenza di lavoratori agricoli locali. Nella maggior parte dei casi, le assegnazioni dei POW italiani funzionavano bene per entrambe le parti. Potevano sfuggire alla noia della vita nel campo, mangiare generalmente meglio e fraternizzare, in misura maggiore o minore, con "gli abitanti del luogo". Per l'agricoltore ospitante e le loro famiglie, un paio di mani extra (e spesso competenze) per aiutare con il lavoro faticoso e infinito della fattoria rappresentava un sollievo gradito.

Per molti secoli, una caratteristica della vita dei POW "fuori dall'orario di lavoro" è stata la creazione di oggetti da vendere, scambiare, inviare a casa alla famiglia come ricordi o come regali. I POW italiani non sono stati un'eccezione e Laurenza ha realizzato un piccolo tesoro per un residente locale, Violet Dawes, che oggi conserviamo nella nostra collezione. I visitatori provenienti da MGNSW hanno "scoperto" l'oggetto e puoi leggere la storia sul sito MGNSW Storyplace.

Advertising Slides

The Strand Theatre was an vital part of Canowindra's social life and one important function was to provide businesses with a way to reach out to their customers in an inexpensive and effective way through the display of on screen advertisements before the show and during intervals. CHSM was fortunate to secure a number of fragile and ephemeral glass advertising slides used in the Strand which we now hold in our collection. Their story is included on the MGNSW Storyplace site.

When "LBD" meant a Little Black-out Dress

The Museum holds (and actively conserves) an important collection of textiles that have strong links to both district and wider Australian social history. MGNSW have included Merle Hadley's little black dress made by her from black-out curtain material in their Storyplace site. Click here to read that story...

The Jack Hore Memorial Challenge Cup

John Alphonsus Hore (Jack) was an accomplished rugby league player and cricketer. When in 1926 he died suddenly at the age of 25 of an infection the townspeople were grief stricken that he was taken away from them in his prime. As they have done so many times snce, the Canowindra-ites raised a large sum of money to purchase fitting memorials to their sporting hero, the cup and a cot for infants at the Soldiers' Memorial Hospital. The challenge cup's story is brefly told on the MGNSW Storyplace site. For the full story, you can purchase a copy of Ron Worboy's history of the cup from the museum.

Street Stories

Where did that street name come from? Who were Charlotte, Richie and Lola? We have some of the answers here.

History Repeating

The year 2021 saw a big harvest, followed by a mouse plague and a wet winter – an eerie reminder of the events of 1915 and 1916 and of recurring weather patterns Read more

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