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Historic find in time for Anzac Day

Publish Date: 24/04/2018

A historic picture has been uncovered during the electrical repair works of the Yarrawonga Town Hall, just in time for Anzac Day.

Mayor Libro Mustica said the picture was of the HMAS Australia, the first flagship of the Australian Navy, but it was the actual frame which was thrilling.

"The frame of this picture is from the teak decking of the HMAS Australia," Cr Mustica said.

"The battle cruiser was the centrepiece of the Fleet Unit and was commissioned in 1913 and served until 1921, having won battle honours in World War I for Rabaul 1914 and the North Sea 1915-18."

HMAS Australia was then scuttled off Sydney Heads in 1924 as part of the Washington Naval Treaty, which provided for a reduction in naval strengths.

"Despite the sinking of the vessel, the memory of this ship has lived on," Cr Mustica said.

"Prior to the announcement of HMAS Australia’s intended scuttling, the Royal Australian Navy had been removing valuable fixtures and reusable equipment.

"Local councils around the nation requested mementoes of the vessel and the Yarrawonga Shire Council was fortunate enough to be granted one of these – namely a picture of the ship framed in the teak removed from the deck."

Cr Mustica said the picture and frame were in poor condition due to natural aging however Executive Manager Operations Rick Devlin organised for a complete restoration to bring this valued artefact back to its original glory.

"Rick repaired a large chip in the top of the frame, sanded back the teak and polished and reset the old nails," Cr Mustica said.

"He also polished the original brass plaque and it now looks as good as the day it was presented to the former Yarrawonga Shire Council."

Cr Mustica said when works at the Yarrawonga Town Hall were complete the picture will be hung in a place of prominence for the community to see.

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