No specific funding or sponsorship but funded by Parramatta City Council
The Parramatta Heritage Centre have created a digital touch table containing over 1500 portraits and information on WW1 soldiers and nurses that came from the Parramatta region.
The parameters of the project were initially drawn from the book Parramatta District Soldiers in the Great War, 1914-1919. It was published in 1924 by the local newspaper, The Cumberland Argus who requested information and photos from the local community to commemorate their contribution to the Great War. All the soldiers and nurses in the touch table are based on the information provided in this book.
The touch table is made up of two screens. The first screen enables users to scroll through an A-Z listing of over 1500 soldier and nurses names and portraits; the other screen allows users to search by location or free text.
Researchers at the Parramatta Heritage Centre have been working diligently since 2014 to build on the information in the table with around 350 stories relating to individual soldiers and nurses. However, the table is not a static display - it was designed to allow users to enter any stories they may have into the table. These stories are directed to a content management system in the cloud which is used to feed information back into the table.
The table was conceived as a work in progress, and as a tool for engagement rather than a static exhibition. The table itself is fairly light weight and can be split into two parts. This enables it to be moved to various locations such as RSL Clubs and local libraries where it is hoped people will add stories and volunteer some time to help complete the entries. Additional information such as embarkation records, attestation records and even newspaper articles which relate to individuals have been added, and the user can access these and look at them while using the table.
The search functions of the table allow people to search by district keyword and by a set of categories we set of categories we set up in our data sheets. These include 'Died in Service', 'Prisoner of War', 'Brothers in Arms', and 'Gallipoli' etc. The free text search offers up a huge array of possibilities for research as you can search on place names, or disease, or terms like 'gunshot'.
As we add more stories we are hoping to build a really comprehensive research tool for future generations from the Parramatta and Western Sydney Region.
Please see this slideshare for more information
Touch Table Milestones
The research for the touch table began in 2014 and will continue until 2019.