Local author and researcher Cate Clark has donated archives of both her books on the armoured division, To Fight and Do Our Best and The Black Soil Plains and Beyond, to the Gunnedah and District Historical Society.

Collected in the files are hundreds of photos and many audio recordings of both soldiers and locals who served with the 1st Australian Armoured Division – a division created to support tank warfare.

Not everyone is aware that that during World War II the Gunnedah and Narrabri areas played host to 30,000 soldiers to train and to possibly act as a deterrent for a Japanese invasion, Cate says.

“It wasn’t unusual in December 1942 to see a tank lumbering down a country lane fully supported by armoured cars and jeeps,” she said.

“The area near Gunnedah airport was one of the busiest spots in the region and the site of the old tip on Wandobah Road housed the headquarters unit.

“It was common to see tanks both in town and out in the country.”

With the Gunnedah and District Historical Society putting together an exhibition at the Water Tower Museum, Cate is certain her precious archives are in the right spot.

“Now when you go up to learn about local history, take time to listen to locals talk about their memories of that time and also peruse the hundreds of digitised photos of soldiers and locals,” she said.

Cate is now busy digitising negatives from the collection owned by her father-in-law, Les Clark, who took many photos for the Historical Society as well as many for pleasure.

She is also busy writing two family histories for local residents.

To order photos from this page click here