Tatura war hero honoured

By Laura Briggs

About 60 Tatura residents have been the first to see an educational video about Tatura’s World War I Victoria Cross recipient Private Robert Mactier.

The video launch, held at the Mechanics Institute Hall recently, saw Tatura Sacred Heart School students, local Tatura RSL members, Mactier family members and friends gathered to learn more about the life of Pte Mactier in the lead-up to Anzac Day.

The event began as guests were welcomed by City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Kim O’Keeffe.

In the lead-up to the viewing of the video, RSL Tatura sub-branch member Robert Mathieson took the opportunity to outline the 28-year-old Pte Mactier’s actions during the Battle of Mont St Quentin on September 1, 1918, during which his bravery and initiative under machine gun fire allowed the 23rd Battalion, Australian Imperial Force to attain its jumping off position.

Melbourne-based Ryebuck Media managing director Tim Gurry, who drove the project as a whole, was also in attendance to host the event and share the discoveries he made through creating the video.

Having produced the video specifically to educate young people within the Goulburn Valley, Mr Gurry said he had enjoyed researching and finding out the facts for himself.

He said it was fitting to make a video to help others understand the heroic actions of Pte Mactier.

‘‘For someone to come from a town of, say, 4500 people and achieve an act that is internationally acclaimed, is something really special and it’s something the community need to cling to and focus on in a really positive way,’’ Mr Gurry said.

Following the video two great-nieces of Pte Mactier — Virginia Stedman and Wendy McHugh — spoke to those in attendance and told of their experience in France, where they visited the ground on which Pte Mactier fought and died, and visited his gravestone.

The women also spoke about the many ways Pte Mactier was still honoured and remembered in France for his actions moments before he died.

Sacred Heart Primary School Year 6 student Ryan Skinner said he was pleased to be invited to the event and to be able to learn more about Pte Mactier.

‘‘I learnt a lot more about Robert Mactier than I knew before — it also made me think a lot more, not just about Robert, but a lot more Australian soldiers,’’ Ryan said.

‘‘It was great to hear more about him and the full story about what he did and it’s great to know that not just Australia but France loves him, too.’’

The morning concluded with a song performed by Mr Gurry and his son Matty Gurry before guests shared Anzac biscuits over cups of coffee.