Books for 'des Cobbers'

Late in 2009, members of the Retired Victorian Principals Association (RVPA) were privileged and delighted to be addressed by Lambis Englezos AM on the background to the Battle of Fromelles and the much later discovery of the buried soldiers at Pheasant Wood.

The attendees were very taken with Lambis’ talk and raised some funds via a raffle. After discussion with Lambis, it was decided to buy some Australian children’s books for the “Ecole Publique Des Cobbers”, the new school in Fromelles.

Photo: The weathervane atop Fromelles School [Wayne Worladge]

President of the RVPA, Helen Worladge, is a grand-niece of Simon Fraser, the soldier immortalized in the “Cobbers” statues at Fromelles and Melbourne. Helen travelled with her husband and daughter to Fromelles in November 2009 and met Carole Laignel and Mayor Hubert Huchette.

Photo: Helen Worladge (right) and daughter Louisa outside ‘Cobbers School’ at Fromelles [Wayne Worladge] 

After Helen’s return to Australia, a visit to Reader’s Feast Bookshop in Melbourne was duly arranged to select the books for the school. Mary Dalmau, Manager of the bookshop not only assisted in choosing the books but also contributed extra books and paid for the freight.

Photo: The Fromelles School clocks show both local and Australian EST [Wayne Worladge]

Hubert Huchette has provided the following photos of the children enjoying the delivery of the books to the school.

The books included:

  • An Australian abc of Animals – Bronwyn Bancroft
  • An Australian 1,2,3 of Animals – Bronwyn Bancroft
  • Possum and Wattle: My Big Book of Australian Words – Bronwyn Bancroft
  • At The Billabong – Debbie Austin
  • Koalas: The Real Story – Dr Mark Norman
  • Australian Mammals Fact File – Kylie Curry/Steve Parish
  • Australian Wildlife – Kerry Kitzelman/Steve Parish
  • My Melbourne Adventure – Jo Rothwell/Bryce Rothwell
  • Old MacDonald Had Some Land-Susan Hill/Naomi Zouwer/John Gould
  • Koala Lou – Mem Fox/Pamela Lofts
  • Possum Tale – Lucienne Noontil
  • Australia at the Beach – Max Fatchen/Tom Jellett
  • Edward the Emu – Sheen Knowles/Rod Clement
  • Wombat Stew – Marcia K. Vaughan/Pamela Lofts
  • Waltzing Matilda – Banjo Paterson/Freya Blackwood
  • Mulga Bill’s Bicycle – A.B. Paterson/Kilmeny & Deborah Niland
  • The Man From Snowy River – A.B. Paterson/Annette Macarthur-Onslow
  • My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch – Graeme Base
  • Wombat Divine – Mem Fox/Kerry Argent
  • Possum Magic – Mem Fox/Julie Vivas


Our thanks to Helen and Wayne for sharing their story.
If you have a story associated with the Diggers of World War I that you would like to share please contact


The Families and Friends of the First AIF thanks the Australian, UK and French Governments for affording Australian and British soldiers dignified individual reburials in the new CWGC cemetery at Fromelles, and applauds the Australian and British Governments for their joint decision to DNA test the remains at exhumation and use every reasonable method to attempt identification of each soldier.

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