Friday 11 June 2010 by Pen Roberts. 3 comments
New acquisitions, Collection, Collection Highlights


 “.. give what you can, give a little of your happiness, a little of your well-being and a lot of your soul.”

These words are an English translation of a 1916 French poster for “Journée Nationale des Orphelins” (National Orphans’ Day).

Philanthropic organisations and patriotic groups moved swiftly to help alleviate the suffering caused by the First World War. A new vulnerable class of people had been created. There were former soldiers permanently incapacitated by injury, those who had tuberculosis, refugees and orphans. Although there was eventually some state aid, many people fell through the cracks of bureaucracy. In Europe, Australia and America, local fundraising as well as national campaigns were soon in full swing. Women’s voluntary organisations, made up mainly of women from the upper and middle classes, were essential in providing support for these activities.

National badge days were a common method of fundraising. The organisational logistics of holding such days must have been as enormous as they are today. Promotional posters and badges needed to be produced and volunteers required co-ordination.  

During the First World War, Germaine Boglio (nee Roquebrune) was a schoolgirl living in Nice, France. Like other community-minded students, Germaine sold badges on fundraising days. A collection of her badges is now held by the Memorial.

Thanks to the Boglio donation, the Memorial now holds both badge and poster for Journée Nationale des Tuberculeux (Anciens Militaires), 1917.

The standard of graphic detail shown in the badges is impressive. However small the badge, the image is clearly recognisable. Graphic production for fundraising badges would have drawn on European traditions of medal-making and engraving. In terms of technique, both traditions were capable of delivering extraordinary detail within a small area.

Fundraising imagery can be symbolic, which aligns it with medal-making, or can tell a story which is reminiscent of engraved illustrations. Here are examples of both.

More symbolic imagery is shown in a series that commemorates the contribution of African soldiers and those from other French colonies. Of the eight million troops who fought for France in the First World War, almost half a million were colonial troops.

The Boglio collection is part of the Research Centre’s Souvenirs 5, Appeals and Fundraising Souvenir Collection.


Sandra Playle

I collect Rose Day badges and to date have around 500. Am getting to know the value and purpose of badges. A friend of mine (whom I encouraged) is collecting Australian Comfort Fund, Violet Day (I know the AWM have these) and Wattle Day badges. I discovered that Rose Day was instituted by the United Charities Fund and they use to have Rose Day festivals and a Rose Day Ball. The NAA hold sheet music that was written for Rose Day. Bright Blessings Sandra

John Kemister

Hello. I recently picked up on Ebay a pressed tin badge in the shape of a rivet. 25mm high by 15mm wide, similar construction to the 'tin hats'. Painted blue background with white lettering indicating 'HMAS SYDNEY" The seller's description just reads "WW1 period Australian patriotic HMAS Sydney item" Would anyone have any confirmationof origin or further information on this item? Regards John

Graham Wilson:

G'day, I recently met a collector (mainly militaria) who has a considerable collection of Wattle Day badges - seem to be mostly WW1 and the period through to WW2. Presumably these were early fund raisers (is that correct?) Some of the early 1920s badges are dated 21st December which seems to contradict my recollection that Wattle Day (when I was a youngster) was either 1st August or 1st September ..... Does the AWM have examples of these badges? Does anyone have additional information on this subject? regards, Graham