Tuesday 15 January 2008 by Mal Booth. 2 comments
Exhibitions, Lawrence of Arabia and the Light Horse, Our exhibition

 

Beth McGeachy-Blay and her events team made sure that the launch of our exhibition on 6 December 2007 was over the top. She is shown above (third from the right) with members of her team and the two camel mascots she managed to "borrow" from the Australian Army's 26 Transport Squadron in Puckapunyal, with their handlers Privates Arron Daniel (far left) and Michael Francis (far right).

 

 
Launch tent interior 2 Launch tent interior 2
 
Launch tent interior Launch tent interior
 
Western courtyard gallery (before it was packed with guests!) Western courtyard gallery (before it was packed with guests!)

The normal space for the launch needed to be temporarily augmented and the launch team came up with a decorated tent concept that went down really well with both guests and the media. They went all out in creating an appropriate atmosphere for this exhibition.

 
Janet and Richard Chauvel with graphic images of Lawrence & the Light Horse Janet and Richard Chauvel with graphic images of Lawrence & the Light Horse
 
Susanne Chauvel-Carlsson and her son Richard Susanne Chauvel-Carlsson and her son Richard

The exhibition was officially launched by Dr Richard Chauvel (grandson of Sir Harry Chauvel). Dr Chauvel is seen (left above) with our new Chairman General Peter Cosgrove AC MC (Retd.), and Assistant Director Helen Withnell. In the centre Richard is shown again with his wife Janet and on the right are two more guests from the Chauvel family, Susanne and her son Richard Chauvel-Carlsson. Susanne is the daughter of Charles Chauvel, Sir Harry's nephew, who directed the film Forty Thousand Horsemen.

 
Clive Hunton from the British High Commission (rear) viewing “Beersheba corner” Clive Hunton from the British High Commission (rear) viewing “Beersheba corner”
 
Dr Norma Aubertin-Potter with a new friend Dr Norma Aubertin-Potter with a new friend

There were a number of notable guests at the opening including Jeremy Wilson, the authorised biographer of T.E. Lawrence (left above). His travel to Australia, with his wife Nicole, was generously funded by the British High Commission in Canberra and that sponsorship was arranged by the High Commission's Media & Public Affairs Manager, Clive Hunton, who is seen in the rear of the central photo above. On the right we see Dr Norma Aubertin-Potter with a new friend. Dr Potter is the Librarian in Charge of the Codrington Library at All Souls College, Oxford. All Souls lent us much of their Lawrence collection for the exhibition. 

 
Viewing a Turkish Regimental standard Viewing a Turkish Regimental standard
 
Dr Norma Aubertin-Potter (left) viewing documents from TNA while guests look at parts of the All Souls collection Dr Norma Aubertin-Potter (left) viewing documents from TNA while guests look at parts of the All Souls collection

Many guests at the launch took the chance to have a good look through the exhibition. Shown above (left to right) are: "Damascus corner"; a Turkish regimental standard captured in Damascus; and Lawrence manuscripts from The National Archives (UK) and items from the All Souls collection.

 
Recently retired Assistant Director, Mark Dawes (right) with Private Michael Francis and a camel Recently retired Assistant Director, Mark Dawes (right) with Private Michael Francis and a camel
 
The exhibition’s assistant Project manager, Bianca Guthrie and her husband Jake The exhibition’s assistant Project manager, Bianca Guthrie and her husband Jake
 
The exhibition’s photography and film curator, Ian Affleck (right) The exhibition’s photography and film curator, Ian Affleck (right)

This final group includes (left to right above): our Director Steve Gower AO, speaking at the opening; recently retired Assistant Director Mark Dawes (with Private Michael Francis and a camel); our assistant exhibition project manager Bianca Guthrie with her husband Jake, viewing a Hejaz regular uniform on loan from the Imperial War Museum; and the exhibition's film and photography curator, Ian Affleck (who has also recently retired).

That's all for now.

Comments

Matthew Gibbs

As a Lawrence enthusiast, I have keenly followed the progress towards the opening of the AWM's exhibition since November 2006. On 9 December 2007 I drove from Sydney to Canberra (and back again) to view 'Lawrence of Arabia and the Light Horse'. Here's my reaction: the seven pillars of a great exhibition. 1. Seven decades in the making - from the time the AWM purchased its subscribers’ copy of 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom' in 1935 with funds raised by the Light Horse Association. It's been a long gestation, but well worth it. 2. The tale of the emu-plumed Australian Light Horse is as daring, romantic and decisive as that of Lawrence of Arabia. (And what an extraordinary man the principal storyteller, Henry Gullett, the author of the official history of the Australian Imperial Force in Sinai and Palestine during 1914-1918, was. Gullett was a distinguished journalist and author, immigration visionary, press officer to prime minister Billy Hughes at the Paris Peace Conference, first director of the AWM, Federal Cabinet member and victim of an air crash in 1940. What have the rest of us done with our lives?) 3. Beautiful, powerful, evocative art. George Lambert is Australia’s Eric Kennington and the side-by-side trio of portraits by James McBey (Chauvel, Lawrence and Feisal) are outstanding - in composition and exhibition arrangement. 4. The flushing out and inclusion of so many pieces from the AWM’s own collection. What a proud, remarkable and largely unseen (surely?) collection the nation has! 5. The AWM's bargain-priced $9.95 program. Jeremy Wilson’s program for the UK National Portrait Gallery's Lawrence exhibition (in 1988) cost me more than $70 (US dollars!) and Malcolm Brown’s for the Imperial War Museum's show (in 2005) set me back $75. Admittedly, they were both hardbacks. But the AWM's gives the reader four authors. 6. The extraordinary pieces of memorabilia – from Basil Liddell Hart’s review of Lawrence of Arabia (“Peter O’Toole is good … as Peter O’Toole.”) to the Jerusalem road sign souvenired by Australian troops that looks like a well-loved pizza tray. 7. The exhibition's on till May 2008, which means I’ve got time to visit again ... and will. Matthew Gibbs

Sue Hallum

Where can I find Photos of the Light Horse group from Australia who went to Beer Sheba in 2008?