Desert patrol

Accession Number ART13640
Collection type Art
Measurement Overall: 135 x 500 x 290 cm
Object type Diorama
Physical description figures: dry colour on lead; modelling: aluminium and plywood base with polystyrene, plaster, PVA, shellac and fibreglass surface with paint; background: 2-channel HD digital animation with sound
Location Main Bld: First World War Gallery: Sinai Palestine 1917: Desert Patrol
Maker Gilbert, Charles Web
McCubbin, Louis Frederick
Mountford, Arlo
Place made Australia: Victoria, Melbourne
Date made 1927; 2002; 2014
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC

In the Sinai Desert it was necessary to keep constant watch not only for Turkish soldiers but also for Bedouin engaged in espionage. Here in the 'Desert patrol' diorama a light horse patrol is preparing to investigate some tracks they have noticed in the sand. Set around the areas of Jifjafa and Hammah during April - August 1916, the subject depicts the intense reconnaissance and patrolling undertaken by the light horse.

The figures were cast from some of the plasters made for the Romani diorama, which C Web. Gilbert started work on before resigning from the model scheme in 1923.

The background by artist Arlo Mountford spans eight hours and includes sound and animation. He spent months researching the Memorial's collection and archives, reading all he could about the Australian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula. Mountford has animated works of art and photographs from the Memorial's collection, basing each one-hour episode of the animation on possible incidents or activities undertaken in the Sinai: for example, planes fly overhead and sandstorms appear in the desert landscape.