Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Hunt for WWI Soldier Brings Past into Focus; Student's History Project Embraced Bywhole Family and Extends Overseas

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Hunt for WWI Soldier Brings Past into Focus; Student's History Project Embraced Bywhole Family and Extends Overseas

Article excerpt

Andrea Davy

andrea.davy@dailymercury.com.au

THIRTEEN-year-old Jessica Gunning has watched history come to life.

Thomas George Stoddart became a household name with family, while she was researching the fallen Mackay WWI soldier for a Walkerston/Pleystowe sub branch RSL bursary competition.

In her research she discovered the history of an interesting character, who died aged 34 on a battlefield in France.

"The Australian War Memorial sites had heaps of information," she said.

"He had trained in Egypt twice, and was at Gallipoli for four months."

She learned he played footy, went to boarding school in Rockhampton and once got into trouble for drinking on the job.

Jessica's mum, Susan Gunning, said the project interested the whole family, because Thomas Stoddart seemed like 'such a typical Aussie guy' from that time.

Jessica did all the research last year while she was still completing Year 7 at St John's Catholic Primary School. …

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