Blog: Personal Stories
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
This presentation of WW1 film, together with voices of WW1 veterans, was produced by the Australian War Memorial's film and sound curators. The footage and original oral history recordings are part of the rich film and sound collections of the Australian War Memorial.
Michael (Mike) Coleridge will always be remembered for the photograph he took on 26 August 1967 of a group of soldiers of 5 Platoon, B Company, 7RAR, waiting for an Iroquois helicopter to land and take them back to Nui Dat at the end of Operation Ulmarra. This photograph has become an Australian icon of the Vietnam War and is graphically featured on the Vietnam National Memorial on ANZAC Parade in Canberra. But this is just one of 558 still photographs and 54 films taken in Vietnam by Mike Coleridge in the Australian War Memorial's collection.
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.
Well, we got wind in the morning that the Armistice was either signed or about to be signed... And the word finally came through and of course there was great excitement... I was only sorry I hadn't arrived there Armistice night because the chaps that got off the train, the girls just formed a ring around them..
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.