Jamberoo's Red Cross to launch story

It was 1939, at the start of World War II, when Dorothy O'Keefe first joined the Jamberoo Junior Red Cross as a five-year-old.

By the time she turned six, she was knitting socks, balaclavas and squares for rugs to send to soldiers on the battlefields overseas and for orphans of the war.

"I remember making a felt elephant toy for an orphan overseas," she said.

Seventy-five years later, the local historian has written a book titled A History of the Jamberoo Red Cross Branch to commemorate the branch's 100th anniversary.

The book will be launched at 2pm tomorrow at the Jamberoo School of Arts hall. Proceeds will go to Red Cross projects.

Ms O'Keefe said piecing together all the research and photos had been an arduous but satisfying task.

She had to rely on newspapers, photos, soldiers' records and her memory.

"I think I was able to add a lot to it from my memories of the war," she said.

"I still remember how terrifying it all was.

"The windows of the school were all papered up in case they were shattered.

"My sister used to say to me, 'quick the [Japanese] are coming', because they were bombing Darwin and we didn't know how far down the territory they got.

"The day I started school we had air raid practice."

Jamberoo's Red Cross branch president Barbara Adams said the book and its author were "brilliant".

"It's been a lot of work but worthwhile," she said.

Memorabilia will be on display on Saturday, including bandages, a letter from a soldier's mother and badges.

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