Blog: New acquisitions
My name is Brady Davison and I am a work experience student from St Stanislaus College, Bathurst. As part of my week at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra I researched the Next of Kin plaque commemorating the First World War service of Private John Joseph Edward Darnedt. Here is his story.
On occasion a totally unexpected document walks in the front door and into Official Records. Recently a report made at Gallipoli was generously donated by Cindy Osborne to the Memorial. The document in question is a handover report from the Commanding Officer 26th Infantry Battalion to the Commanding Officer of the 28th. The Russell Top handover report is a most welcome addition to the Official Records held at the Memorial, for although we hold the War Diaries of the units involved, supporting reports such as this one are rarely present in the Gallipoli records.
Last month, the Memorial was delighted to accept a Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train (RANBT) diary, donated by Mr Martin Smee of Port Elliot, South Australia. Mr Smee made the trip to Canberra to personally deliver the diary, which has been part of his family's valuable family history for many years. The diary was written by his grandfather, Able Seaman Driver Laurie John Smee. Born in South Australia, Laurie ran away to sea when just 17. After serving on various merchant ships and making his way to England, he joined the Royal Navy and served on several British ships before returni
As a duty curator in the Military Heraldry and Technology section, you discover some unexpected stories when items are donated to the Memorial. One such story was that of Sergeant Daniel Gallogly of the 6th Field Company Engineers and the embroidered souvenir from Egypt that he purchased in 1916.
When we think of fertile faming lands, the Northern Territory is generally not the first place that springs to mind. Yet it was here, during the Second World War, that the Australian Army established the 1 and 2 Farm Company as part of the Australian Army Service Corps.
As senior curator of Film and Sound at the Memorial, I was greatly privileged in February this year to go with the ADF to the Australia’s area of Middle Eastern Operations. Not only did I meet with and interview an amazing range of ADF members based in or around Al Minhad, Kandahar, Tarin Kot and Kabul, but I found myself in the rare position of being a female civilian, totally immersed in the ADF’s world. I trained with ADF. I wore body armour. I travelled by armoured convoy and by Hercules aircraft.
The Australian War Memorial's Heraldry collection contains a number of commemorative badges and brooches which display a high level of beauty and craftsmanship combined with poignant individual stories. A recently donated brooch demonstrates these characteristics excellently.
The AWM has recently acquired a significant set of photographs taken by photographer Gary Ramage in Afghanistan in 2010. Photographs such as these, of Australian Defence Force personnel on patrol ‘outside the wire’ in Afghanistan, are a first for the AWM.
The many donations to the Australian War Memorial’s National Collection come in all shapes and sizes as well as conditions. Many collections are treasured family objects that are passed on through generations which represent stories of family members who were involved in Australia’s military commitments. Others are rescued from disposal centres or found in op shops and deposited to the Memorial from strangers who have no knowledge of the person the collection relates to.