Friday 18 December 2009 by Robyn van Dyk.
The Australian War Memorial’s Bean diaries digitisation project was short listed for the Manning Clark House National Cultural Awards – 2009. The Award recognises outstanding contributions to the quality of Australian cultural life in 2009.
Emma Jones previously mentioned in 60 year old sweat on a wedding dress – a conservation challenge the preparation of Miss Platt-Hepworth’s wedding dress for the exhibition Of Love and War. The decision was made by the curator Rebecca Britt to keep the staining as evidence of use.
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.
“’Rock Around the Clock’ took the place by storm,” recalls Doug Lewin. “People in Butterworth and Penang loved it.”
This was 1956 and the global hit by “Bill Haley and the Comets” was broadcast through a small radio station set up by the men of RAAF No. 2 Construction Squadron at Butterworth in Malaysia. The squadron was there to construct an airfield strip in Butterworth for the British during the Malayan Emergency. They were housed in a camp of Attap huts next to the construction site, and rock was sourced from a quarry about 5 miles away.
Once we determined that the remaining three wedding dresses, requested for the exhibtion Of Love and War, were able to be safely put on display, the textile conservators worked in collaboration with curators and exhibition staff to determine the dimensions of showcase and, the types and styles of mannequins.
Preparations for the Memorial’s new travelling exhibition Of love and war are nearly complete. The showcases are being built, all the labels and captions are being printed and we’ve been in the recording studio as well.
A large part of the Memorial’s collection relating to love during wartime comes from private records, particularly the letters that were exchanged between lovers separated by conflict.
Back in September, I was doing some work out at our Treloar Annex, which is where our conservators work. I was videoing the construction process of the mannequins being made for the 3 wedding dresses that are to be included in the “Of love and war” exhibition. During a break in filming I got talking to Jessie Firth, who was working on one of the wedding dresses . She was applying fake perspiration to material to see what effect it would have.
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.