Summary

Alternative Name(s): Button, Pin

World War I-era pressed tin fundraising badge - 'Servia Syria Armenia'. The badge features an illustration of a Middle Eastern desert scene with silhouetted date palms and three camels with riders in the foreground against a backdrop of desert sand and sky, with and a white town with minarets on the horizon.

One of 24 fundraising badges attached to a black velvet ribbon. Purchased and collected by the donor's great-grandmother, Mrs LIllie Mary Hollinger, in Melbourne (probably Canterbury).

Badges were worn or displayed on ribbons during and after World War I, commemorating involvement in the war effort and expressing patriotism. They were generally made to raise funds for particular causes, including comforts and medical aid for those serving overseas; assisting widows and children of deceased soldiers; and assisting with the purchase of aids and treatment for soldiers who returned with disabilities.

The Australian War Memorial website records that this fundraising badge was produced in support of the displaced peoples of Servia, Syria and Armenia. Such badges were sold in trams, buses, at railways stations and rallies to raise money for the stated cause. This example is associated with a programme of support directed at survivors and victims of the Armenian massacres in the Ottoman Empire (including northern Syria) dating from 1915 until well into the mid 1920s, and the plight of the Serbian people in the aftermath of the Balkan Wars. The programme, coordinated through the Commonwealth Button Fund, was supported by churches, state and federal governments, and produced a series of posters stating a target of 30 million pounds. A special day was organised for 3 February 1918, designed to coincide with identical appeals in England organised through the Lord Mayor of London Appeal and supported by the Archbishops of Canterbury, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Similar events were also run in the United States. The badge was designed by Mrs Frances Woolcott, Honorary Organiser of the Melbourne branch of the Commonwealth Button Fund and the design was approved and registered (no 3905) on 20 November 1917. Over 7,300 pounds was collected nationally during this appeal.

Physical Description

Circular pressed tin badge featuring the an illustration of a Middle Eastern desert scene with silhouetted date palms and three camels with riders against a backdrop of desert sand and sky with and a white town with minarets on the horizon. Superimposed over the expanse of sand in the foreground is inscription in red. The back of the badge is a dull tin, and is damaged by rust. A bent nail has been utilised as the pin and is attached through holes in the back of the badge.

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