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Remembered Today:

rebuilding of Belgium


southozsue
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I am wondering if any one on the other side of the world from me could shed further light on these few lines from CEW Beans Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918

The quote is:

The Belgian Relief Committee at Adelaide also,

having in hand a balance of 36,ooo pound spent it in helping to

restore the town of Lierre, twelve miles from Antwerp. The

Belgian Government agreed to add five pounds for every one,

and with the total money there was built beside Lierre a new

town, which, in gratitude for the South Australian gift, was

named I‘ Sud-Australie.”

I have not been able to find out anything about the existence of the town today (damage WW2??) My next step is the papers of the day.

Of course 90 years ago 36000 pounds was a HUGE amount of money.

Your pearls of wisdom will be greatly appreciated

Cheers

South Oz Sue

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Not really a "pearl of wisdom" I'm afraid... :(

Lierre must be Lier. Some distance south of Antwerp.

But I'm afraid I have never heard of a new town next to it "Sud-Australie"

I see if I can find anything. (The name of that new town would surpise me, for it is French. I'll have a look if I can find anything about "Zuid-Australië"

Aurel

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Googled helped me out.

"Zuid-Australië" appears to be a street or part of Lier.

Google gave a number of hits.

Unfortunately my wife tells me to switch off my PC.

Right NOW !

She wants me to go shopping with her.

More later.

If I survive the shopping. <_<

Aurel

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Back from shopping. Alive and kicking...

I wish I could now add a pearl to my crown ... :(

But unfortunately Google doesn't help me any further. Nowhere did I find a connection between the Zuid-Australiëlaan (laan = avenue) in Lier and the Great War, or an explantion of the historic origin of the name.

All I found is that the "Zuid-Australiëlaan" is near the railway (near the station too I suppose), and that this was a "tuinwijk" (garden area, garden quarter) in 1923 (created in 1923) ?

Aurel

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Dear Aurel

Many thanks at least I have more information than yesterday.

(hope shopping went well...I was sleeping through it ;-)

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Hi S.

Shopping went perfect. (Though not really for my credit card... :(

I have posted the question on a Dutch Forum, knowing that one of the Flemish members is from Lier. He may have answered already, but I can't get on that forum right now. If later I find there is a useful reply, I will let you know.

Aurel

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I've just seen on the Dutch Forum that my contact (and a few more) cannot help, and cannot give more information than I already had. (That indeed there is a Zuid-Australiëlaan, and a quarter by that name.

But they gave me an email address in Lier (Archives). Who knows ...

Aurel

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post-8813-1139660963.jpg

I found a map of Lier that showed Zuid Australien Road or Street but couldn't copy it. If this has worked it is an old postcard of Lier

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once again thanks Aurel and Sherree as well

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Hello all,

I live in Lier (or Lierre in French) and from my terrace I have a view of the back of the Zuid-Australiëlaan (South Australia Avenue), so I might be able to help you.

In 1914 the Germans broke through the Antwerp fortress' ring near Lier and the town was heavily damaged. The town was bombed by German, Belgian and British artillery. Temporary wooden houses were built during the war to house the roofless.

In 1920 a new quarter (not a new town) was built near the road to Antwerp with the financial support of an Australian Aid Comittee, hence the name "Zuid-Australiëwijk" (South Australia quarter).

Unfortunately, the quarter was bombed during ww2. New houses were built in the period 1953-1963, and none of the original houses remains. The only thing that reminds today of this district is the street name.

Below is a view of the quarter post ww2.

ZAwijk.jpg

Regards,

bert.

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Excellent work Bert. The South Australian connection is proved then. Great to see a photo of the street.

I can't help but wonder why the South Australians gave money to Lier, was this common practice for overseas donations to be made to bomb damaged towns to rebuild themselves.

Also the map, Aurel found was similiar to the one I found, thanks for posting it.

Now all I have to see is a recent photo of the Zuid Australien Avenue sign!

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Sherree,

Why Lier ? Yes, that was my question too. Why not Ypres, which suffered a thousand times more ...

A picture of a sign ? I have taken quite a lot for Forum members, but I'm afraid in this case ... Lier is 120 km (80 miles) from where I live. But I'll post the request on the Dutch Forum. A few members are from Lier or the area.

(And I will let you know when or if the Archives of Lier have answered my email to them for more historical info.)

Aurel

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Just back from a 10 minutes walk in the snow. Could you in return send me a scan of the relevant pages of the official history ? BTW, let me know if you want me to nick the original sign, it will cost you however a little bit more ;)

The only other example of foreign private money used for reconstruction that I can think of right now is the university library of Leuven/Louvain that was rebuilt with American funds. But I am sure there are others.

And why Lier and Leuven ? Do not forget that the stories and images of the German invasion were used to convince the public opinion of the justness of the war. Places like Lier, Aarschot, Leuven, Dinant, Dendermonde, ... suffered heavily and became symbols of the "poor little Belgium".

The "Westhoek" (region of Ypres, Diksmuide, ...) was in 1914 a low-populated area, with little economic and hence political value. Maybe the allies preferred to invest their money in the more promising areas than in that "dead" (literarlly after the war) part of the country.

regards,

bert.

sign.jpg

Streetsign

za_2006.jpg

View of the quarter from the corner Rozenlaan - Zuid Australiëlaan (see B&W image)

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Well done Bert, and you had to go out in the snow, to get the photos, thankyou very much. We have 37 degree Celius heat in Australia at the moment. Aren't digital cameras great? What a thrill to see Zuid Austaliaan (I keep forgeting how to spell it). I am going to send the photo and the story on to my brother who lives in the capital of South Australia - Adelaide.

As for the original story we will have to ask 'south sue' who posted the initial thread. I would like to see more original information on the donation to Lierre also. If Sue is still out there following the thread perhaps she will post some more information?

Anyway, thanks again Bert, a job well done!

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I used to live very near to Lier and I can't help it wonder why they would donated such a amount of money to Lier. I don't see any Australian connection... . Maybe the two towns have fraternised? Maybe Bert knows?

Kind regards,

Jan

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Very interesting thread.

Maybe the connection with South Australia was that a South Australian unit may have been stationed there post 11/11/1918.

When the war concluded the Australian divisions prepared to go to be part of the occupation force in Germany but were told that they were not needed. Therefore many of the Australian battalions were sent to Belgian towns while awaiting embarkation back to Australia.

Perhaps a South Australian battalion such as the 10th, 27th or 43rd were stationed there or the surrounding area.

Regards

Andrew

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I have some new info on Zuid Australia in Lier, provided by a kind chap at the Lier town archives, he writes I quote-

On 17 april 1920 the town mayor of Lier announces in the Lier City Council that an Australian Committee is kind to give a large amount of money for the building of garden city in the outskirts of Lier near the road from Lier to Antwerp. The Australian Committee that provides the money is an initiative under the presidency of the wife of the Governor of Australia. For the new founded social housing company in Lier architect Flor Van Reeth (1884-1975) built 73 houses after the English concept of the garden city, which he studied during his stay in England during the First World War. Lady Hamilton of the Australian Committee controlled the newly built quarter. During the Second World War "Zuid-Australë" was destroyed. At the moment I can't provide further details, because the Lier town's archives don't have the archives and records of the Lier social housing company.

With kind regards,

archivist-curator

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Thanks, Sherree.

I received the same yesterday from Mr Luc Coenen (the kind chap you refer to), and intended to post it on the Forum this afternoon ! You have beaten me ! :huh:

Aurel

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Aurel, I can't promise you that I won't beat you again, it will all depend on whether we are going after the same information at the same time from our opposing ends of the earth. I am still smiling.

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Thanks everyone for your information

After WW1, Australia there were the committees raising money for rebuilding projects Belguim (Belgium Relief funds...I think they were called). Due to work commitments i can't get to that piece of the puzzle (newspapers) until Easter when i am on leave again

Many thanks again!

Sue

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