• Love Letter Update for Valentine's Day

    Saturday 13 February 2010 by Nicholas Schmidt. 6 comments

    It has been a year since the first blog entry went up about Marthe Gylbert and her letter. In this time, with the help of some very generous people, I have been able to discover much about Marthe and her wonderful love letter. If you have not seen the previous blog entries, they can be found here and here. Marthe‘s nephew Jean Marc Gylbert has been very helpful and interested. He has provided much information about his family and …

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  • Evacuation of Gallipoli

    Wednesday 9 December 2009 by Kerrie Leech.

    Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey. 17 December 1915. A view of Watson's Pier. During the last days of the evacuation, Anzac Beach, was utterly deserted, but fortunately Turkish airmen, flew too high to notice this.

    In mid December, 94 years ago, thepreparations to evacuate Gallipoli were well underway.Much has been written about the stealth with whichtheoperationwas undertaken. The Private Record collection at the Memorial has a number ofaccounts of the evacuation writtenby those who participated in it. The account below is from Sergeant Robert Clive Hunterwho was serving with 6th Light Horse Regiment at the time. He recounts his …

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  • A different day at work

    Friday 13 November 2009 by Rebecca Britt. 2 comments

    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. However, an exhibition is a …

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  • Proactive Collecting with HMAS Parramatta

    Wednesday 4 November 2009 by Alexandra Orr. 2 comments

      HMAS Parramatta (author's collection) The Australian War Memorial faces unique challenges presented by the modern age to its collection development for recent conflicts, including Iraq and Afghanistan. With email, phones and internet communicative tools largely replacing traditional keepsakes such as diaries and letters, this has made identifying and retaining objects of the ADF experience in modern conflict rather …

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  • The butcher and the grocer: A Western Front story.

    Friday 28 August 2009 by Craig Blanch. 12 comments

    The Western Front was epitomised by the brute force of men against machine and each other. Tens of thousands were lost in the maelstrom of war. In the horror, friendships were forged that endured even through death. This is the story of one such friendship... Wally Brown was a grocer. He did not necessarily want to be a grocer but neither did he want to follow in the footsteps of his father as a miller. The small Tasmanian community of…

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  • The Not So Great Escape

    Wednesday 12 August 2009 by Alexandra Orr. 9 comments

    On the 19th November 1941, Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney II was lost, with all hands, off the coast of Western Australia after engaging with the German raider HSK Kormoran. The discovery in March 2008 of the final resting place of the Sydney and the Kormoran attracted much attention. Understandably, there has been much discussion over the circumstances surrounding the loss of the Sydney; however the story of the Kormoran’s Commander, …

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  • The Liberation of Colditz Castle

    Friday 17 July 2009 by Dianne Rutherford. 2 comments

    Shrapnel from an American ranging shell, Colditz Castle 1945. REL38251 This 8 cm piece of shrapnel is a souvenir from the liberation of the infamous prisoner of war camp, Oflag IVC - Colditz Castle. It was collected by an Australian soldier, Lieutenant Jack Millett. Millett was an 'incorrigible', one of the prisoners held by the Germans at Colditz for making repeated escape attempts from other camps. In 1942, Millett was…

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  • Dr Phoebe Chapple: The first woman doctor to win the Military Medal

    Tuesday 30 June 2009 by Craig Blanch. 15 comments

    Phoebe Chapple (1879-1967) Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia. B 25677/34 Phoebe Chapple was always going to be someone special. She grew up in a family of high achievers. Apart from her father, Frederic Chapple, who was headmaster at Prince Alfred College Adelaide, five of her seven siblings held university degrees: Alfred a lecturer in engineering at St John’s University Cambridge; Ernest, another…

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  • The girl on the badge

    Wednesday 3 June 2009 by Paul Taylor. 9 comments

     A donation came to my desk in the days following Anzac Day that caught my attention.  It was a maroon and white identification badge that featured the image of a young girl, her name, an I.D. number and the words, 'C.S.I.R. Radiophysics Division' Fortunately the depositor of the badge provided details of the original owner and I was soon speaking to Valerie Briggs who at 79 years of age still possessed all of the enthusiasm and …

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  • Ludwig Marx - A unique Australian's story

    Tuesday 19 May 2009 by Michael Kelly. 4 comments

    As an assistant curator at the Australian War Memorial, I deal with many personal stories of Australians and other nations during war time. One story has really inspired me lately, that of Ludwig Marx. I had an email from his granddaughter recently about his service medals we hold in the collection. As I read the catalogue records, the brief description "served German Army in the First World War, Imprisoned at Dachau" grabbed me. I…

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