Cohuna’s vigorous historical society manages a local museum and archives. The museum documents life in this rural community and when asked to identify a Great War object of special interest the group pointed to two items: fence posts cut by Albert Jacka VC, and a small but useful publication titled Cohuna and the Great War: 1914–1918. Cohuna and the Great War is a collection of pieces published in local newspapers during the war and can be examined at the museum.
A government grant in 2000 was used to build a fireproof repository to house thousands of documents that tell the story of the town and the district. The archives include a substantial collection of paper documents and photographs concerning the Great War and its outcome in this community, complementing Cohuna and the Great War.
A memorial hall was named as a lasting acknowledgement to all of those who went to war. Originally a community hall, it was re-dedicated soon after the war to mark the service of local men and women. Cohuna has no marble or granite war memorial such as those in many Australian communities. However, a granite monument has been approved and with the assistance of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, will be built in parkland close to the main street.
Like many other towns, artefacts associated with the war can be found at various sites in Cohuna. For example, in the supper rooms attached to the memorial hall, a collection of photographic portraits of some seventy veterans can be seen. Their images have been gathered into a large wooden frame as a pictorial honour roll. The images are currently being digitised, and the lives of the men depicted are being explored.
The seventy fresh faces were part of group of about 200 thought to have enlisted, whose names are sometimes found on honour boards. New research accompanying the planning of the new granite memorial suggests that the correct number of Great War servicemen from Cohuna and district is closer to 400, though no reason has yet been found to explain why about fifty per cent have been overlooked in the past.
Cohuna and the Great War: 1914–1918, Jenny Bottcher, Cohuna and District Historical Society, 1985 (First Edition). A re-set reprint is available from the Cohuna Museum and the Historical Society.
Articles written by Geoff Dale