The Australian War Memorial is currently undertaking a project to create a comprehensive digital archive of the ANZACs and their deeds, and of the wider Australian experience of war. The collections are selected from our extensive archives and reflect the experiences of Australian servicemen, nurses and civilians during the First World War, not just well-known personalities. This project will digitally preserve the Memorial’s collections as well as provide full copies for research on the Memorial’s website.
The ANZAC voices exhibition features a number of rare documents displayed for the first time, such as some of Frederick Tubb’s diaries and John Simpson Kirkpatrick’s letters. It is also the first time the Memorial has displayed relics recovered from the Pheasant Wood mass grave at Fromelles.
They are a combination of personal and military issued items. Five of the six items are associated with unidentified remains, the sixth item, a scrap of gas goggles, is associated with Ray Pflaum who died of wounds as a prisoner of war on 19 July 1916 and who is featured in the exhibition. The goggles are very fragile and it is amazing that any part of them survived. You can still see one of the yellowed celluloid eye pieces and the holes where stitching has come undone.
On 20 December 1915, Private John Kingsley Gammage of the 1st Infantry Battalion wrote in his diary, This concludes a real experience that money could not buy with an enemy that fought fairly and clean. Gammage was one of the last 10 000 Australian troops remaining at Anzac Cove. These men departed Anzac Cove during the night of Sunday 19 December through into the early hours of Monday 20 December 1915. The preparations for their departure had been carefully planned down to the finest details.
I would not have joined this contingent if I had known that they were not going to England.
Private John Simpson, 3rd Field Ambulance, Christmas Day 1914
In December 2012, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) announced that for the very first time, ADF members would be allowed to march in uniform at Sydney’s Mardi Gras parade in 2013. This momentous announcement coincided with the ADF’s 20th anniversary of the removal of the ban on homosexuals serving in the armed forces. The march would also fall on the 35th anniversary of the parade, making the inaugural uniformed march all the more historic.
Recently the Memorial was asked whether it was planning to tell the story of the conflicts between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Australia during the nineteenth century.
To celebrate the holiday season, the Film/Sound section of the Australian War Memorial have put together this light hearted Christmas video as our final showreel for the year. Drawing on material from across various conflicts from both home and abroad and items in both our film and sound collections, our video highlights the joy that Christmas brings to young and old.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the team in Film/Sound!
"It is the hospital ship, with its Red Cross flag flying aloft, that stands as the one humane agency in the midst of the horrors of modern naval warfare."
Some of the objects on display in the new ANZAC voices exhibition illustrate the ingenuity of the ANZACs when faced with insufficient supplies and equipment at Gallipoli. When the ANZACs landed there on 25 April 1915, they expected a quick advance to Constantinople [Istanbul] so did not carry the equipment or supplies they needed for trench warfare. Although supplies were brought in throughout the campaign by boat, these could be delayed or destroyed through bad weather or Turkish shelling, so the soldiers at Gallipoli had to be industrious and inventive. They made weapons, equipment, board games and stationary from the items they found around them.