TWO Chinese Anzacs from Golden Point have been recognised during a tour of World War One battlefields and war cemeteries on Europe’s Western Front.
The graves of fallen troops, Bertie Pring – at Brewery Orchard Cemetery, Bois-Grenier – and Albert Lepp – at Ration Farm Cemetery – were visited by an Australian group in September.
The tour group was led by former Golden Point junior footballer and passionate WW1 researcher, Garry Snowden, who has visited Gallipoli 18 times.
Local lady, Mrs Tung, hand made some tributes – crocheted poppies in Golden Point’s colours – blue and white.
Andrew Young and Mr Snowden – who both attended the Golden Point State School – said a few words and laid the poppies on the graves of Pring and Lepp.
Mr Snowden asked the group to “feel the spirits” of the soldiers as they travelled the battlefields.
“It’s terribly sobering. Those boys were no different to me,” Mr Snowden said.
Joint secretary treasurer of the East Point Football Netball Club Past Players and Supporters Memorabilia Committee, Peter Storey, said it may have been the first time the graves had been visited.
“During research…it became increasingly apparent that very strong ties existed between the Ballarat Chinese community and the playing of Australian Rules football…with Golden Point,” Storey said.
“Evidence exists of matches played between Chinese miners and gardeners in the late 1880s.”
The memorabilia committee talked with leaders of the local Chinese community and the possibility of Chinese men from Ballarat serving in WW1 became an area of interest.
This led the committee to Mr Snowden.
“His research revealed 22 Chinese Anzacs commemorated in Ballarat’s Avenue of Honour, five of whom were killed in action,” Mr Storey said.
“Three of those men have no known grave with only Albert Lepp and Bertie Pring having headstones.”
Mr Snowden researched grave locations for both men, discovering their whereabouts, and was able to add the visits to a tour he had already organised within the region.
Pring and Lepp are recognised on Golden Point State School’s Honor Board of former pupils who were involved in the Great War.
Another poppy was laid at Arnold William Minster’s grave at Lijssenthoek, Belgium. He played for Golden Point Football Club before he was killed at war in October 1917.
“They did what their country asked of them,” Mr Snowden said.