• These boots are made for walking...

    Tuesday 14 April 2009 by Dianne Rutherford. 9 comments

    Among the items held at the Memorial that were issued to air crew serving in Europe, are two pairs of very interesting 1943 Patternescape boots. Theboots weredesigned so that an airman downed in Europe could remove a small concealed knifeand cut off the top section of the boot to reveal a civilian looking shoe. The 1943 Pattern escape boot was designed in response to reports received from returned airmen who had baled out over occupied Europe …

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  • Conservation of the Mark IV tank

    Wednesday 1 April 2009 by Laura Kennedy. 3 comments

    The sponson on the left hand side of the Mark IV tank was removed last year for inclusion in the Memorial’s exhibition, “1918, Advancing to Victory”. The tank was relocated to the Memorial’s Large Technology Workshop in order to safely remove the sponson.  This provided an excellent opportunity for Conservation to undertake a preservation treatment of the tank which would include a full repaint, back to it’s original colour scheme. One…

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  • Infantry Battalion Regimental Marches

    Thursday 19 March 2009 by Theresa Cronk. 7 comments

    What do a concert pianist, an Indian bandmaster and an Australian militia bandmaster have in common? Each of these individuals composed a march that would eventually be adopted as the regimental march of an Australian Imperial Force infantry battalion during the First World War. Many were popular songs of the period. The 23rd Battalion March was composed during the First World War by Miss Una Bourne at the request of Mrs Doris Carter. Una Bourne …

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  • WWI - For this Sydney family it was "on for young and old".

    Wednesday 18 March 2009 by Sue Jamesion. 23 comments

    When Leonard Walter Jackson of Neutral Bay joined the AIF on the 6th of August 1915, he must have been one of the youngest Australians ever to enlist in our military services. Using the assumed name Richard Walter Mayhew, and claiming to be an 18 year old orphan, young Leonard, who was born on 27th August 1901, was actually 13 years 11 months and 10 days old on the day he "signed up". Len's older brother, Harry Melville Jackson, had enlisted in …

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  • Red Cross Records from the First World War

    Monday 16 March 2009 by Craig Tibbitts. 1 comments

    In the last few days has come news of an important discovery for First World War historians (especially family historians), in the archives of the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland.  British historian Peter Barton, commissioned by the Australian government to conduct further research into a mass grave at Fromelles in France, made the find.  The records consist of ‘card indexes and registers compiled between 1914 and 1918; …

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  • The Coronation Contingent of 1953

    Wednesday 11 March 2009 by Annette Gaykema. 7 comments

      Cover of "Coronation Cruise of HMAS Sydney" (RC07761)   After the death of King George VI in February 1952, planning for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth began. Tradition demanded a procession of all the Queen’s troops be present and so plans were put in place to form an Australian contingent. There were 250 official representatives from the armed forces sent to the festivities. These official delegates, along with their …

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  • The Indefatigable Florence MacDowell

    Thursday 5 March 2009 by Dianne Rutherford. 2 comments

      Florence MacDowell in 1912 (from Private Records collection 2DRL/1138) Florence MacDowell was born in the mid 1870s, the daughter of Swanston Hay MacDowell and Kathleen Champ. She trained as a nurse at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Victoria and the Queens Hospital in Adelaide, South Australia. She opened her own hospital called ‘Windarra' at Toorak in Victoria, but later moved abroad, living mostly in Italy. She was …

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  • More wings for the Raj: RAAF in India during Second World War

    Friday 27 February 2009 by Tim Roberts. 6 comments

    Although outside main combat areas during the Second World War, India became an important region for the RAAF, and for many RAAF personnel attached to RAF units. In some RAF squadrons, ten percent of the crews were Australians, many of them transferred from training or bomber units based in England. Most RAAF and RAF activity happened in the northern half of India. The Eastern division of Bomber Command used various bases in Bengal (now …

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  • First Aboriginal commissioned officer – Reginald Saunders

    Friday 13 February 2009 by Garth O'Connell. 4 comments

    Many thousands of Australian Aboriginals have enlisted and served in Australia’s defence forces since 1901, and several have won decorations, but the first to be promoted to a commissioned rank was Reg Saunders of Victoria. Reginald Walter Saunders was born a member of the Gunditjmara people, just outside Framlingham Aboriginal Reserve in the western district of Victoria on 7 August 1920. His …

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  • Puddings on the Veld and kangaroos in the Gulf: Christmas in the Memorial’s collection

    Friday 13 February 2009 by Rebecca Britt.

    Miniature pink underwear, artistic biscuits, autographed handkerchiefs – these may seem like odd Christmas gifts, yet these are just a few of the objects that Australian soldiers have sent home while serving overseas and which are now held in the Memorial’s collection. They include items from the South African War (1899–1902) and the two world wars, as well as from more recent operations, such as the Persian Gulf, and they range from the …

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