Mysterious 100-year-old WWI glass slides found in a box behind a teacher’s desk in Melbourne

Dozens of priceless WWI glass slides were discovered by a Melbourne schoolteacher who had unknowingly kept them in a box behind his desk for years.

Firbank Grammar School history teacher Robert Harrod was shocked when, after being prompted by another teacher, he finally opened the mysterious box only to find dozens of glass slides containing black-and-white images of soldiers and various moments from the first World War showed.

“I opened it up and was like, ‘Oh my god, what have I got here,’ and I was just blown away by what I saw,” he told 7NEWS.

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“It was like going back in time and being next to the soldier and his relatives that you see in some of the pictures.”

A second container was then also found in some boxes in the school library, with the slides probably being kept and moved around the school for over 100 years.

The boxes were unopened for years. Recognition: 7NEWS

Harrod said he had absolutely no idea how these artifacts ended up in the school.

“Someone checked it out from the library in 1988 – there’s nothing before that, there’s nothing since.”

Curator of Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance, Neil Sharkey, said the slides, also known as Lantern Charms, are in “absolutely superb condition”.

One of the slides found by the school. Recognition: 7NEWS
The slides are believed to have been used in some sort of slide show for students over 100 years ago. Recognition: 7NEWS

He surmised that they were used during World War I as part of a slide show for students to give them an idea of ​​what their family and friends were experiencing at the time.

“My best guess would be that the slides were bought to teach the female students here at the school,” he said.

“To give them a sense of what their older brothers and their fathers and their cousins ​​and uncles were experiencing on the other side of the world during that very turbulent time.

“They were keen to learn more about what was going on and get a sense of what those events were like.”

The images will be donated to the Shrine Of Remembrance. Recognition: 7NEWS

14-year-old student Sophia Janoshalmi said the pictures were incredible.

“Seeing all the different expressions on their faces and trying to cope with such a sad time is really incredible and it makes me quite sad,” she said.

“These have been so well cared for and there is really so much detail to be seen in each one of them that it’s insane to think they were under our noses the whole time.”

The Brighton-based school plans to donate the artifacts to the shrine.

Sharkey said the shrine would be happy to become the custodian of the slides.

“They will be a great exhibition and a great resource for people who want to learn more about the history of Australia in World War I.”

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James Brien

James Brien is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. James Brien joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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