Anzac Day fundraising ribbon : Mrs E Wharton-Kirke

Place Oceania: Australia, New South Wales
Accession Number REL34770
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Silk
Maker Unknown
Place made Australia
Date made 1916
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Small rectangular silk ribbon with printed words 'ANZAC DAY' in black and white sans serif text. The word 'Anzac' is in white over black; the word 'Day' in black over white. Prolonged exposure has shattered the silk, resulting in the loss of the last quarter of the ribbon and most of the word 'Day'.

History / Summary

Fundraising ribbon designed for the First Anzac Day celebration in Sydney in 1916, the manufacture of which was organised by Mrs Ellie Wharton-Kirke, MBE, of Manly, NSW. Mrs Wharton-Kirke was the originator of the concept of declaring Australia Day (30 July; note that what is now called Australia Day, celebrated on 26 January, was then known as Foundation Day) a national day for raising money for war charities in 1915.

The public responded enthusiastically and generously and Mrs Wharton-Kirke was recognised for her tireless fundraising effort by the award of a gold version of the Gallipoli medalet, sold in lower grade metals on the first Australia Day, one of only four cast in gold. This ribbon was another of her fundraising initiatives during the war - a small envelope which accompanies the ribbon has a note from Wharton-Kirke which states that the ribbon 'was the 1st token manufactured for 1st Anzac Day which we sold to keep our Diggers on the firing line'. Wharton-Kirke's four sons served during the war; the eldest Captain Errol Wharton Kirke, ANMEF and 18 Battalion, died on 4 August 1916. Lieutenant Hunter Wharton-Kirke, MC, 17 Battalion and 1806 Private Basil Everal Wharton-Kirke, AAMC, both returned to Australia. Clement Wharton-Kirke appears to have served with British forces.