In World War Two, seven Hutchins brothers from Woorinen, near Swan Hill in Victoria, enlisted to protect and fight for the country they loved. All seven served with the AIF in different conflicts - from desert sands of the Middle East, Tobruk, Syria & North Africa, to the tropical Islands in the Pacific - New Guinea, Rabaul & Ambon. Of the seven brothers, only three returned home. Four of the brothers died tragically under barbaric Japanese imprisonment, or trying to escape it. The surviving three brothers, who returned to Australia at the end of the War, carried physical and psychological scars from their experiences. Their brother’s horrific fates were not known until the 2nd of February 1946, when parents Henry and Mary Hutchins received the first of four telegrams. Three more would arrive together within the week. No Australian family, would suffer from a greater loss of life in World War II.
Over 60 years later, in April 2007, the Hutchins family sacrifice touched hearts across Australia, when it was told for the first time, in an Anzac Day tribute. The story Band of Brothers was written by Neil Wilson from the Herald Sun.
Memory set in stone: A memorial plaque was erected in the peaceful Riverside Gardens, adjacent to the Murray River in Swan Hill. On the 5th of December 2007, the two surviving Hutchins sisters - Myrtle Salau 89, and Mary Coburn 86, unveiled the memorial plaque for the seven brothers. As the ladies revealed the plaque, their emotion was sadly evident – and was a poignant reminder to everyone, that time and separation does not weary a family’s love, or a sisters longing for her brothers to return home.