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


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?