The road to Bethlehem

Accession Number ART94702
Collection type Art
Measurement Overall: 18 x 34 cm
Object type Work on paper
Physical description pen and ink and pencil on paper
Maker Coleman, Fred
Date made c. 1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright


Depicts a view of a Mosque in the background, with stone walls and some small plants and a road in the foreground, possibly in Palestine. These images are interwoven through the words ; 'The Road to Bethlehem'. This work is associated with the 'Kia-ora Coo-ee'. The Kia Ora Coo-ee' magazine was written and illustrated by Australian and New Zealand troops serving in Egypt, Palestine, Salonica and Mesopotamia, was printed in Cairo and appeared in monthly issues between March and December 1918. With ten issues in a single year it seems to have been the service magazine with the longest and most regular record of publication. The security of the base in Cairo, and the availability of a commercial printing establishment, enabled the editors to produce a magazine which was in every respect thoroughly professional, attracting advertising revenue and making a comfortable profit. Australian soldiers wrote about all aspects of their war experience in broadsheets, newspapers and magazines which were produced on the troopships, in the trenches and back at their bases. The Kiaora Coo-ee was one of the most successful widely distributed of these publications. It was the official magazine of the Australian and New Zealand armies in the Middle East and was professionally printed by the Sphinx Press in Cairo. The average monthly distribution of The Kiaora Coo-ee was some 13,000 copies and it covered themes ranging from the quality of the food and the level of physical discomfort to irreverent digs at authority. The magazine ran poetry, prose and illustrations. There was a large pool of talent on which to draw; possibly the most famous contributor was Banjo Paterson, who contributed several poems and short stories while serving as an officer in Egypt. The Kiaora Coo-ee was keenly sought as a souvenir, and some soldiers arranged for copies to be sent directly home, with payment being deducted from their wages. This may explain why so many copies have survived. Fred Coleman (b. 1892 -) served with the 12th Light Horse Regiment. He enlisted on 15.2.1915 when he was 32 years old and his job was a sleper contractor. He initially joined the Australian Light Horse Reserve at the Liverpool Depot, NSW in February 1915. He arrived in Egypt in July 1915 . He became Squadron Sargeant in April 1917 and was admitted to the 31st General Hospital, Port Said with Malaria in June 1918. In December 1918 he was awarded the Military Cross for the Damascus Operations. It was noted in his service record for the 1st AIF that Coleman was 'a good fighter , but lacks education' which prevented him from obtaining further promotions.