Crocheted cushion cover 'Our Hero We're Proud of Him Anzac 1915' : Mrs N Salau

Unit Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC)
Place Oceania: Australia
Accession Number REL38591
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Cotton
Maker Unknown
Place made Australia
Date made c 1916
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Handmade filet crochet square cotton cushion or occasional table cover, featuring central panel with an Anzac digger at attention in profile, with the words 'OUR HERO WE'RE PROUD OF HIM' to the left and 'ANZAC 1915' below. It is surrounded by a scalloped edging with a repeated pattern of Victoria Crosses.

History / Summary

Owned by Mrs Norma Salau. The various pattterns with patriotic motifs appropriate to the First World War were published in women's journals of the period. They could be made up as individual designs or combined to form larger items such as tablecloths or bedspreads. This particular design was especially popular and numerous examples have survived. The choice of a border design varied with each maker. The medal example seen in this item was not an integral part of the main central design.

Passed onto Mrs Norma Salau by a member of the Salau family and probably associated with the service of her cousin, Charles Erven Salau, born at Bendigo, Victoria in July 1894. Salau, a farmer of Kerang, Victoria enlisted under the name of Charles Erven on 3 Februrary 1916 and stated that his parents were deceased, listing his sister, Vida, as his next of kin instead. But both parents were actually alive and living in Melbourne, but had divorced prior to the start of the war and it is suspected he did not want to be associated with this situation. Salau was initially assigned to 10 Battalion with service number 4423 on 7 February 1916 but was soon transferred to 11th Reinforcements, 22 Battalion on 22 February. He embarked for overseas service aboard RMS Orontes on 29 March 1916 from Melbourne, arriving at Alexandria and almost immediately re-embarking for France aboard the transport 'Tunisian'. He disembarked at Marseilles on 5 June 1916, was arrested for misconduct on 22 June and subject to 14 days close confinement. He finally joined 22 Battalion in the field on 31 July 1916 as they were recovering from their involvement in the Battle of Pozieres a week before; Salau's arrest had saved him from experiencing this bloody ordeal. In September/October 22 Battalion were moved to the Ypres sector then back to the Somme for the winter. From 13 November until 14 January 1917 Private Salau was in hospital with a medical condition and rejoined his battalion on 25 January. He participated in the Second Battle of Bullecourt (May 1917) when he was appointed Lance Corporal, and at this point 'assumes correct name Erven Chas Salau'.

On 4 October 1917, witnesses state Salau was part of the C Company, 11 Platoon Machine Gun Section stationed in a shell hole at the jumping-off tape in the assault on Broodseinde when a shell hit three yards from the team. Two members of his team (6042 Private William Ball and 4561 Private J T 'Snowy' Vale) were injured and Private Salau and 4572 Private Frank Young were killed; Salau was hit by shrapnel to his head and 'was killed on the spot', according to Private Vale. 6163 Pte J Thomson, C Coy 11 Pltn states 'When we got up we looked for the MGS and on enquiry found they had never left the tape'. Salau was declared missing in action in Belgium until a court of enquiry convened on 5 May 1918 amended his status to killed in action. He was initially buried at Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke but has since been reinterred at Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood. His effects were sent to his sister Vida in late 1918, and consisted of a wallet, two notebooks, letters, cards and a photo.