• New Art Acquisition by Eric Thake

    Friday 30 January 2015 by Cherie Prosser.

    Eric Thake, Self-portrait in a broken shaving mirror One of only two self-portraits by Eric Thake produced during his Official War Artist commission, 1944-45. Eric Thake (1904-1982) was a Modernist painter with an interest in Surrealism, a style that developed in the early 1920s, best known for its contradictory and illogical scenes, expressing unconscious ideas and concepts. His contemporary approach to art made him an unlikely appointment as…

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  • In deep respect - Bede Tongs OAM MM

    Wednesday 28 January 2015 by Garth O'Connell. 6 comments

    Captain Bede Tongs (centre) with his wife and his brother Reginald after being presented his Military Medal by the Governor-General in Canberra, July 1947. Reginald was captured in Singapore with the 2/20th Battalion AIF and along with tens of thousands of others suffered under Japanese captivity on the Burma-Thai death railway and at Changi until his release in 1945.

    Yesterday at the Christ Church in Queanbeyan NSW the funeral of a local community stalwart, Bede Tongs OAM MMwas conducted. Amongst the many mourners inside andoutside the Churchwere several current and ex-members of staff and senior management of the Australian War Memorial including yours truly. It is tremendously hard to put into so few words what a positiveimpact Bede had not just on me personally and professionally, but on my colleagues, my …

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  • Memorial Box Banter - Part VII

    Tuesday 27 January 2015 by Kathleen Cusack.

    Albert and Norman Holden

    On the day that the Armistice was signed, whilst shouts of rejoicing could be heard in every direction, I stood alone with a lump in my throat, feeling in no mood to wave flags, though deeply grateful that hostilities had ceased and that no more precious human lives would have to be sacrificed.* A few weeks after the First World War ended, Gladesville resident, Dora Boulton, opened her mail to read these words from Victorian chaplain, Albert …

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  • Stitches and signatures

    Friday 23 January 2015 by Ashleigh Wadman. 1 comments

    Wartime textiles weave many different stories in their efforts to support, honour and remember Australians at war. The Memorial’s heraldry collection contains many examples of fabrics that have been autographed with people’s names as fundraising devices, records or symbols of friendship. Collecting signatures in autograph and scrap books has long been a popular practice in many different countries and time periods and these autographs on …

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  • Perspectives of Parit Sulong

    Thursday 22 January 2015 by Garth O'Connell. 4 comments

    2/19th Battalion 2/29th Battalion AIF Imperial Japanese Guards Parit Sulong Massacre

    Perspectives of Parit Sulong Today marks the 73rd anniversary of a tragic chapter in the history of the Australian Defence Force - thefirst documented massacre of Australian troops by the Imperial Japanese during the Second World Warat Parit Sulong in Malaya on 22 January 1942. In mid January 1942 a small Australian and Indian force was cut off by the Japanese around Bakri and Parit Sulong in Malaya (now known as Malaysia). The Australians and …

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  • Daily Digger: Narrating the First World War

    Tuesday 20 January 2015 by Theresa Cronk.

    We all wished everybody the best of luck in the New Year particularly those at home. The above words were penned on 1 January 1915 by Captain Charles Albert Barnes in a letter that he had started to write to his mother on Christmas Day 1914. The letter was continually added to on a daily basis, along the lines of a diary, until the last addition on 17 January 1915. This letter has been digitised as part of the Memorial’s major centenary …

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  • Military vehicle records at the AWM

    Monday 19 January 2015 by Dianne Rutherford.

    Ford 3 ton F60L (long wheelbase) Cab 12 4x4 GS truck.

    Ford 3 ton F60L (long wheelbase) Cab 12 4x4 GS truck. REL31736 One question we are regularly asked is for information about the history of a particular military vehicle owned by a collector, wanting to know about where the vehicle served and when. Unfortunately, we are generally unable to provide this information as we hold few records relating to specific military vehicles. What …

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  • Mettle and Steel: the AANS in Salonika.

    Tuesday 13 January 2015 by Ashleigh Wadman. 4 comments

    Thanks to increased interest in the experiences of the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) during the First World War, I recently attempted to redress the lack of focus on the nursing outpost of India. It would be a great shame to then omit the service of our girls in Salonika, who likewise faced extreme difficulties with remarkable courage and professionalism. Such hardships would eventually come to mark this theatre of war as one of the most…

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  • Anzac Christmas hampers

    Tuesday 23 December 2014 by Alison Wishart. 7 comments

    Women distribute Christmas billies to men in Cairo, Egypt, December 1915. Driver Jack (John) O. McKenzie, from the 20th Australian Army Service Corps (AASC), recalls: `Every one was delighted to get one. The one I received was from two Melbourne girls. They distributed over five thousand in our camp amp; as far as I know every soldier in Egypt got one.

    Perhaps you’ve packed, compiled or received a Christmas hamper full of goodies in the last few days. About this time 99 years ago, the Anzacs who had evacuated from Gallipoli were eagerly awaiting their Christmas hampers. Women distribute Christmas billies to men in Cairo, Egypt, December 1915. Driver Jack (John) O. McKenzie, from the 20th Australian Army Service Corps (AASC), recalls: `Every one …

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  • How best to remember someone?

    Tuesday 23 December 2014 by Alison Wishart. 5 comments

    A collection compiled by Maude Edmondson and donated to the Australian War Memorial

    How best to remember someone? In the past, when someone died, some people created scrap books or dossiers as a way of working through their grief and gathering together all the memorabilia. This is what Maude Edmondson did when her son died at Tobruk in 1941, in an action for which he received a Victoria Cross. A collection compiled by Maude Edmondson after the death of her son, donated to the Australian War Memorial. How are loved ones who have…

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