Exotic Souvenir

Cushion Cover, 1941

Australian soldiers fought in many theatres of war during the Second World War from 1939-1945. Overseas postings meant not only fighting on the front but also opportunities to take leave and travel. Soldiers often sent souvenirs home to family members as gifts, and to illustrate and share a little of their experiences in exotic and faraway places.

This colourful embroidered and painted cushion cover was sent home by Cyril Rae Koellner [1917- 1998], Service No. NX1550. The cover was a gift to his sister Minna Allen following the conclusion of hostilities in Palestine in 1941. Cyril was born at Barrington and enlisted for service Gloucester in 1939. Souvenirs like this one were designed and made for sale to soldiers.

Cyril Koellner served with 20 Field Company in the Middle East, specifically in Syria and what is now known as Lebanon against the Vichy French. In 1942 he took an 8 day motor tour of Palestine and Syria visiting well-known towns and tourist attractions. The touring holiday was recorded in a letter to his mother which was later published in the Gloucester Advocate.


Name two countries in the Middle East that Cyril Koeliner visited?

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