The Australian War Memorial will mark the Centenary of the First World War through a vibrant four year cultural program including changing our First World War galleries.
Visitors to the Memorial’s exhibition Rats of Tobruk 1941 will have noticed the unofficial Rats of Tobruk medal presented, according to its engraving, by Lord Haw Haw. Around twenty of these medals were made at Tobruk, which illustrates one of the earliest examples of the town’s defenders reclaiming the title ‘Rat’, bestowed on them by the propaganda radio program ‘Germany Calling’. Visitors may also notice the brasso caked around the small copper rat on this medal, the result of many years of cleaning.
Question: What’s the definition of “tough”?
Answer: Australian service nurses
In early April 1941, the nurses and physiotherapists of 2/5th and 2/6th Australian General Hospitals (AGH), were transported to Greece with the men of the 6th Division. They were moved around frequently, often at short notice, as the Germans advanced down the Greek peninsula. Hospital supplies and food were in short supply, and many of the incoming wounded were suffering from frostbite.
Sister Nalder wrote of a new group of patients on 17 April;
There were grave fears for the strength of Australians fighting in the malaria prone regions of the Pacific during the Second World War. By June 1943, it was estimated 25,000 Australians in Papua and New Guinea had contracted malaria. Supplies of quinine, used to treat malaria since the First World War, and the synthetic drug atebrin were inadequate to meet demand. The Land Headquarters Medical Research Unit was quickly established in Cairns, Queensland where a specialist team of researchers trialled synthetic anti-malarial drugs.
1941 was a year of battle. It was a time of victories and defeat. Australian soldiers, sailors, and airmen fought their first major battles of the Second World War in North Africa and in the Mediterranean. Australian and British troops won a series of early successes in Libya and later in Syria. But they also suffered greatly on mainland Greece and on Crete. When a rapid German offensive swept the British from Libya, all that stopped the Germans from continuing into Egypt was the defiant garrison at Tobruk.
Friday 11 December 2009 by Bridie Kirkpatrick. 3 comments.
Collection, Exhibitions, Conservation, Of love and war Exhibition, Conservation, Of Love and War, Textile, kitbag, Sgn John Conrad Lynam, Dorothy Lamour, pin-up
Isn’t it funny how things come about? While working on the textiles component for the exhibition Of Love and War a painted kitbag came to me for treatment. The lovely pin-up painted on the bag looked an awful lot like Dorothy Lamour, a beautiful actress known as the “Sarong Girl” in the 1940’s. As the exhibition will be travelling I had to chuckle that Dorothy Lamour made a string of Bing Crosby/ Bob Hope “On the Road” films. The kitbag belonged to Signaller John Conrad Lynam, a timber cutter from Brisbane.
As previously explained four wedding dresses were initially selected for "Of Love and War". One of the wedding dresses, originally owned by Mrs N S Bissaker, required hundreds of hours of painstaking work before it would be strong enough for display, so unfortunately it will not be ready for display in “Of Love and War”. Instead this dress with go on our Vulnerable Textiles conservation list and be conserved with all the care it deserves to preserve it for the future.
Here is the first of several blog posts about the wedding dreses being considered and conserved for our upcoming Of love and war exhibition.
On December 3, 2009, the Australian War Memorial will be opening its exhibition “Of love and war”.
The impact of war on romantic relationships and the ways in which Australians incorporated affairs of the heart into their wartime lives is a powerful subject and we would like the public to contribute their stories via our Flickr group.