Unfolding over the 75th anniversary year of the Australian War Memorial, A Home on a Southern Hill is a series of exhibitions which tell the story of how the Memorial was brought to being, as well as exploring its history and continuing relevance.

The series takes its name from a poem written by Will Dyson to accompany his 1928 cartoon, Calling Them Home, which depicts a ghostly bugler calling the spirits of Australia’s war dead to the yet-to-be-built Memorial.

They dreamed of leave that never came

The first exhibition in the series, also called A Home on a Southern Hill, is presented across two spaces in the Memorial – the Reg Saunders Gallery and the Reading Room.

The works presented in the Reg Saunders Gallery have been chosen to explore the conception and purposes of the Australian War Memorial: as a place for the living – to remember, grieve, and understand – and for the fallen – as a tomb fitting of their sacrifice, and a place for their spirit to reside.

The exhibition continues in the Reading Room to tell the story of the Memorial building from C.E.W. Bean’s initial sketch, through the 1925 architectural competition and the set-backs and controversies of the 1930s, to its official opening on 11 November 1941.

Further exhibitions in the series

The exhibition series continues in April with To Heal a Nation, which considers the ways in which Bean’s experiences shaped his vision for the Memorial and reflects on the nature of commemoration. 

Winter 2017 sees the third exhibition in the series, Telling their Stories, which explores the role of the Memorial’s museum and archival functions, from dioramas to digital experiences.  

The series concludes in September–November 2017 with The Memorial in Landscape, which focuses on the siting and landscaping of the Memorial.