Jan Friar's enormous contribution to Tenterfield WW1 book acknowledged

Tenterfield Shire Council ANZAC Centenary Steering Committee chair Peter Reid presents researcher Jan Friar with a copy of 'Sometime We'll Understand' endorsed by all the committee members.
Tenterfield Shire Council ANZAC Centenary Steering Committee chair Peter Reid presents researcher Jan Friar with a copy of 'Sometime We'll Understand' endorsed by all the committee members.

As Sometime We’ll Understand – the locally-produced book detailing those with Tenterfield connections who fought in WWI – approaches its next print run, council’s ANZAC Centenary Steering Committee took time out following Remembrance Day to acknowledge the driving force behind the book.

In presenting Jan Friar with a copy of the book endorsed by each of the committee members, committee chair Peter Reid said the five years since the group formed had been a fantastic experience.

He said the first project – the digital honour board – was completed fairly quickly and those involved thought they could rest on their laurels ‘when Jan breezed through the door’.

Her list of 600-700 hundred entries for a proposed book has since blown out to more than 1200. He commended her efforts in one of the hardest areas of research – family history – making connections between family members from a time when records were patchy at best.

Mr Reid noted that Mrs Friar had gleaned tips and techniques from the best, in the form of historian Graham Wilson, but credits her with a talent for family history research that can’t be taught.

“It was quite an achievement to get that book to publication,” he said, “and, with modern technology, enabling us to provide an extraordinary turnaround at low cost.

“Anyone who’s seen it is admiring of it, and it’s all credit to Jan for pulling us through.”

In her reply, Mrs Friar said she was motivated to produce the document by constantly hearing the phrase ‘We will remember them’ at ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day commemorations.

“But we didn’t even know them,” she said, determined to address that shortcoming.

Jan Friar and Tenterfield RSL Sub-branch president Dave Stewart at the presentation.

Jan Friar and Tenterfield RSL Sub-branch president Dave Stewart at the presentation.

She needed little goading to accept Mr Reid’s invitation to becoming involved in the new ANZAC centenary project, and “when I get stuck into a project, I get stuck in it.”

Much of the last two years has been spent gathering information on our past warriors that goes beyond date of birth and date of death.

“Hopefully the townspeople will appreciate it,” she said, “and yes, I’m done.”

She, husband Michael, son Brad and daughter Vic have a combined military service totalling 100 years, through a combination of reserve, active and civilian service.

She said her work here is completed, and it’s now up to the community to keep the book updated.

Also having done its job, the ANZAC Centenary Steering Committee is officially wound up but Mr Reid is working on the next edition of the book after the first print run was sold out.

In addition to amendments the second edition will include extra photos from Gallipoli and the Western Front and background information on the conflict.

Publishing date is yet to be determined but orders can be placed at the council office in Bruxner Park, where a copy of the first edition can also be perused. The cover price is $35.

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