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National Trust of South Australia

 

Cullen Chair

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Fast Facts
Also known as Morris Chair
Type of thing Personal
Date made or found c. 1916
Place made Australia
Place used Mallala
Current location Mallala


On September 11th 1916 a young man by the name of Frank Cullen from Mallala enlisted in the 27th Battalion A.I.F. to fight for King and Empire in The Great War. He went by the ship “Afric” to England and from there on 29-9-1917 to serve in France and Belgium where he was killed in action on Christmas Day December 25th 1917 at the age of 21 years. He is buried in the Prowes Point Military Cemetery, Belgium.

An organization named the Mallala Patriotic Girls Club presented his parents Mr and Mrs (Michael and Mary) Cullen with a “Morris” reclining chair with an inscribed silver plaque on it in remembrance of Frank’s life and service to his country. Before the end of the war Mr and Mrs Cullen and family had relocated to Balaklava where Mr Cullen worked as a butcher.

In late 2010 the Mallala Museum committee received an email from a lady named Patricia living in Newcastle NSW.  She had viewed the recently compiled Mallala Museum Wiki site on the Internet found the article about the Mallala War Memorial and read the names of the 10 young men who were killed from the area during WW1 which included the name of Private Frank Cullen.

In a remarkable coincidence when Patricia had been living in Adelaide about 20 years earlier, she had browsed in a second hand store and purchased the chair  with the plaque on it in remembrance of Frank Cullen. Patricia moved to Newcastle to live and the chair went with her.

On contacting Patricia by phone she remarked that she was touched by the story and on finding out that there was a museum at Mallala she thought the chair should come back home to Mallala. I agreed that it would be lovely if that could happen and there the story rested for two years.

However one day in late June 2012 there was a telephone call from Patricia’s son Liam to say that he was on his way from Sydney to the Flinders Ranges  and would deliver the chair to the Mallala Museum. The family also gave a generous donation to cover the cost of recovering the chair which at some time had been covered in a modern material. The museum committee was delighted that the chair had finally returned home to Mallala.


The Cullen chair
The Cullen chair


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