Media release

  • First World War letters and diaries available online

    In the centenary year of the First World War, the Australian War Memorial today launched one of its major commemorative projects which will see rare, historic records containing eyewitness accounts made available free and online to the general public.

    Known as ANZAC Connections, the project involves the progressive digitisation of thousands of pages of personal accounts, letters and diaries from Australians who served in the First World War.

    The project also makes available improved linkage and search options to bring together all the Memorial’s digital collections including photographs, film, artworks and objects.

    The Assistant Director of AWM’s National Collections, Tim Sullivan, said ANZAC Connections delivered treasures from the Memorial’s archive including eye witness accounts of the Gallipoli landing on 25 April 1915; and the battles of Fromelles and Pozières.

    “Some of these rare and historic records are being made publicly available for the first time, including letters from John Simpson Kirkpatrick (of Simpson and his donkey fame) and Captain Frederick Tubb VC’s diaries, as well as Australian nurses and the personal records of ordinary people swept up in the events of the First World War,” Tim Sullivan said.

    “People were caught up in the excitement after war was declared. Many thought the war would be over by Christmas, and enlisted from a sense of adventure and opportunity to see the world. ANZAC Connections reveals the changing attitudes and hardships experienced by Australians during the First World War.”

    The project aims to draw together information and sources related to individuals, and to present that information in one place. Over the next four years, the Memorial will progressively digitise a broad selection of the private records of servicemen and women from the First World War.

    The digitised collections present the voices of those who served in their own words and provide all Australians with the chance to read original accounts of the experience of war.

    “ANZAC Connections offers a rare and intimate glimpse into the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of our very first Anzacs throughout the First World War. The words of these brave men and women help us form a deeper understanding of what it means to be an Australian,” said Tim Sullivan.

    The digitised records can be accessed through http://www.awm.gov.au/people/biographies/

    MEDIA CONTACT DETAILS:

    Bob Willoughby          (02) 6243 4575            0409 600 038        media@awm.gov.au

    Mon 21 Apr 2014
  • Allan Yates appointed as Head of Communications and Marketing

    It is with great pleasure that the Australian War Memorial announces the appointment of Mr Allan Yates as Head, Communications and Marketing.

    Mr Yates comes to the Memorial with a strong background as a communications and marketing manager and practitioner for state and federal government agencies. His career includes experience with national and international organisations in both public and private sectors.

    The Director of the Australian War Memorial, Dr Brendan Nelson, said “I am pleased to welcome Allan to the Memorial. He has a wealth of experience in this field, and we are very fortunate to have him join us during this significant period in Australia’s military history.”

    Mr Yates worked as a journalist in both the national and the international media for almost 20 years, including 12 years in the federal parliamentary press gallery. He has also held senior roles in media relations with the Australian Institute of Sport, and at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. More recently, he has provided strategic advice, issues management and communications and marketing services to organisations including the Australian Automobile Association, TAFE Directors Australia, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program, the Department of Climate Change and Water, and NSW Health.

    Mr Yates believes that it is a great honour to work at one of the world’s great museums and an institution so close to the hearts of many Australians.

    “I value this opportunity to lead the Communications and Marketing team,” said Mr Yates. “This is a critical period for the Memorial as it prepares to commemorate the centenary of the First World War with a range of informative, engaging, and captivating projects, events, and activities for all Australians to share.”

    Mr Yates will take up his role at the Memorial as Head, Communications and Marketing on 3 March 2014.

    CONTACT DETAILS

    Moj Nozhat                  (02) 6243 4575            0409 600 038        media@awm.gov.au
    Liz Holcombe              (02) 6243 4383            0401 464 563        liz.holcombe@awm.gov.au

    Mon 24 Feb 2014
  • BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities contributes $1 million to the Australian War Memorial

    The Australian War Memorial and BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities are pleased to announce the donation of $1 million to support the redevelopment of the Memorial's First World War galleries.

    The major redevelopment of the galleries will form a key part of the Memorial’s commemorations for the centenary of the First World War. This significant donation will assist in the integration of state-of-the art technologies in the galleries to enhance and support artefacts, works of art and a range of other exhibition items.

    The Memorial's Director, Dr Brendan Nelson, said “the donation from BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities demonstrated a commitment to the Memorial's commemoration of the centenary of the First World War and the events that shaped our nation.

    “This substantial donation from BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities will make a big difference. Partnerships such as this enable us to enhance the significant investment made by the Australian government and the Australian War Memorial in telling our nation’s history in times of war.

    “The employees of BHP Billiton have themselves made an extraordinary contribution to Australia’s war effort through the twentieth century. Today, the company is helping to ensure the stories of our first ANZACs continue to be told for a new generation of Australians,” he said.

    BHP Billiton Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mackenzie said BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities was proud to support The Australian War Memorial and help establish a new First World War exhibition.

    “Throughout our history we have always maintained strong roots in Australia, including substantial industrial contributions to both the First and Second World Wars,” he said.

    “We contribute to the Australian economy through payments to shareholders, employment and the provision of taxes and royalties, and we are proud to make this contribution to recognise Australia’s past war efforts.

    “I am pleased the new galleries will use state of the art technologies to ensure the story of Australia's role in the First World War, and its impact on Australian society, continues to be told for generations to come.” 

    “The redeveloped First World War galleries will captivate visitors and leave them with a deep sense of pride in what was achieved, informed by a clear understanding of the cost," Dr Nelson said.

    BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities is a UK-based charity established by BHP Billiton as part of its community investment programs.

    CONTACT DETAILS

    Australian War Memorial:

    Moj Nozhat                  (02) 6243 4575            0409 600 038        media@awm.gov.au
    Liz Holcombe              (02) 6243 4383            0401 464 563        liz.holcombe@awm.gov.au

    BHP Billiton:

    Eleanor Nichols           (03) 9609 2360            0407 064 748        eleanor.nichols@bhpbilliton.com

    Thu 20 Feb 2014
  • Baird family presents Victoria Cross to the Memorial

    The family of Australia’s latest Victoria Cross recipient, Corporal Cameron Stewart Baird VC MG, today presented his Victoria Cross for Australia to the Australian War Memorial, where it will go on display in the Hall of Valour.

    Corporal Baird’s Victoria Cross and Medal for Gallantry were presented to the Director of the Memorial, Dr Brendan Nelson, by his parents, Mr Doug Baird and Mrs Kaye Baird, and Corporal Baird’s brother, Brendan Baird.

    “The Memorial is honoured to receive Corporal Baird’s medals from his family. The loan of these medals is a selfless gesture from a family still grieving the loss of their son and brother,” said Dr Nelson.

    “I’d like to thank the Baird family on behalf of all Australians, who will now be able to see the incredible achievements of this young man on display at the Memorial. These medals will form an integral part of the continuing story of the Australian experience of war, and are a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made in our most recent conflict,” said Dr Nelson.

    The Hall of Valour honours all the Australians who have received the Victoria Cross, the nation’s highest award for bravery in time of war. Amid great battles and the movements of armies, the exploits of courageous individuals have always provided inspiration. Corporal Baird’s medals will go on display in the Hall of Valour in the coming months.

    “Corporal Baird’s medals and story will join those of many ordinary men and women who have done extraordinary things; their deeds form an immortal part of our nation’s history. I am sure many Australians will now want to learn more about Corporal Baird’s remarkable courage and selfless service,” said Dr Nelson.

    “The Memorial is the best place to preserve the legacy of Cameron’s Army service and to immortalise the hard work and dedication to duty of his brothers within the 2nd Commando Regiment,” the Baird family said.

    “Cameron believed very much in service to Australia and we’re sure he’d want to play a part in the Memorial’s recognition and ongoing education of our nation’s proud military history.”

    Corporal Cameron Baird was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia following his heroic actions during an engagement with insurgents in the Khod Valley, Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, on 22 June 2013.

    His citation reads:

    For the most conspicuous acts of valour, extreme devotion to duty and ultimate self-sacrifice at Ghawchak village, Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, as a Commando Team Commander in the Special Operations Task Group on Operation Slipper.

    On 22 June 2013, Corporal Baird displayed conspicuous valour and ultimate self-sacrifice in close combat with a determined enemy. With complete disregard for his own safety, he repeatedly drew enemy fire to himself in order to allow his team to manoeuvre, and charged prepared enemy positions in the face of heavy fire. His efforts enabled the enemy to be neutralised and kept his team safe, but ultimately cost him his life. His actions were of the highest order and in keeping with the finest traditions of the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force.

    Corporal Baird’s name is also inscribed on the Memorial’s Roll of Honour, along with the other 39 Australians killed in action in Afghanistan.

    Corporal Baird’s full medal group comprises the following honours and awards:

    • Victoria Cross for Australia
    • Medal for Gallantry
    • Australian Active Service Medal with “East Timor”, “Iraq 2003” and “International Coalition Against Terrorism” clasps
    • Afghanistan Campaign Medal
    • Iraq Campaign Medal
    • Australian Service Medal with “Counter Terrorism/Special Recovery” clasp
    • Australian Defence Medal
    • United Nations Medal with “United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor” ribbon
    • NATO Non-Article 5 Medal with “ISAF” clasp and “3” multiple-tour indicator
    • Infantry Combat Badge
    • Returned from Active Service Badge.

    CONTACT DETAILS

    Moj Nozhat                 (02) 6243 4575            0409 600 038        media@awm.gov.au
    Liz Holcombe              (02) 6243 4383            0401 464 563        liz.holcombe@awm.gov.au

     

    Wed 19 Feb 2014
  • United in remembrance at the Last Post ceremony

    Today the Director of the Australian War Memorial, Dr Brendan Nelson, and the Chairman of the Council of the Memorial, Rear Admiral Ken Doolan AO RAN (Ret’d), will welcome members of parliament to the Last Post Ceremony.

    The Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Tony Abbott MP, and the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Bill Shorten MP, along with President of the Senate, Senator the Hon. John Hogg, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Hon. Bronwyn Bishop MP, and the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, will join Dr Nelson and Rear Admiral Doolan in laying wreaths of remembrance at the Pool of Reflection.

    This event will mark the opening of parliament for 2014 and serves as a reminder that the decisions of governments and parliaments have a price.

    Today’s Last Post Ceremony will remember and pay tribute to Private Colin Campbell Barr and his brother Private David Barr of the 60th Battalion. On 19 July 1916 the battalion participated in its first major operation on the Western Front – Fromelles. As David and Colin crossed no-man’s land together, they were both hit by shrapnel. David died shortly afterwards, while Colin was sent to hospital in England with wounds to his chest and lungs. He passed away on 31 August 1916.

    What:              Parliamentary opening Last Post Ceremony

    When:             Monday 10 February 2014, 4.55 pm (please arrive at 4.30 pm)

    Where:            Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial

    Who:

    • The Hon. Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister of Australia
    • The Hon. Bill Shorten MP, Leader of the Opposition
    • Senator the Hon. John Hogg, President of the Senate
    • The Hon. Bronwyn Bishop MP, Speaker of the House of Representatives
    • Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
    • Rear Admiral Ken Doolan AO RAN (Ret’d), Chairman of the Council of the Australian War Memorial
    • Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial

    *Please note that there is an audio split available for wireless connection.

    CONTACT DETAILS

    Moj Nozhat                  (02) 6243 4575            0409 600 038              media@awm.gov.au
    Liz Holcombe              (02) 6243 4383            0401 464 563              liz.holcombe@awm.gov.au

     

    Mon 10 Feb 2014

Media alert

  • Anzac Day 2014 at the Australian War Memorial

    Anzac Day 2014

    This year Anzac Day commemorates the 99th anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. Anzac Day is the day we remember all Australians who served or died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. The Australian War Memorial will again be the focus of national commemorative activities: specifically, the Dawn Service and the National Ceremony.

    Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will attend the Anzac Day National Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial. This ceremony features a commemorative service and a veterans march.

    The march will be led by the four living Australian Victoria Cross recipients: Mr Keith Payne VC OAM (Ret’d), Corporal Mark Donaldson VC, Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG, and Corporal Daniel Keighran VC. The march will conclude with a fly-past of RAAF aircraft.

    Key activities:

    Photographic projections 9 pm (24 April) – 5.15 am (25 April)

    Dawn Service interpretation (readings and didgeridoo performance) 4.30 am – 5.20 am

    Dawn Service 5.30 am – 6 am, with public arriving from 4.30 am

    National Ceremony 10.15 am – 12 noon (approximately)

    A selection of high-resolution images, online resources, and biographical databases are available through the Memorial’s media portal. Email webmaster@awm.gov.au before Anzac Day to obtain a password. If you require additional images, please search our collection and email media@awm.gov.au with the image ID number. (Please note: maximum of six images permitted.) All requests to be received by the Memorial before Thursday 17 April 2014.

    If you are planning to cover either the Dawn Service or the National Ceremony at the Memorial on 25 April 2014, please register by emailing media@awm.gov.au. Additionally, if you require media talent, please note this in your registration email. Registration cut-off is Tuesday 22 April and there will be a site walk-through this day.

    Please note: limited parking is available at the Australian War Memorial on Anzac Day.

    Go to our website for general information on the Dawn Service and National Ceremony.

    CONTACT DETAILS

    Bob Willoughby (02) 6243 4575 0409 600 038 media@awm.gov.au

    Allan Yates (02) 6243 4383

    WEB LINKS

    Memorial’s media portal https://secure.awm.gov.au/media/

    Dawn Service and National Ceremony information www.awm.gov.au/commemoration/anzac/

    Collection search http://secure.awm.gov.au/search/all/

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    Anzac-Day-2014-media-alert.pdf105.71 KB
    Thu 10 Apr 2014
  • Life behind the lines portrayed in works from one of the largest donations

    The Memorial has recently received a significant donation under the Cultural Gifts program of over 400 items from the estate of artist William Edwin Pidgeon (1909-1981). The donation is one of the Memorial’s single largest donations in 10 years.

    Known as ‘WEP’, the Second World War correspondent, painter, cartoonist, illustrator and newspaper critic, had many of his illustrations published in Women’s Weekly, making him a household name in Australia.

    His works richly convey the lives and personalities of Australian troops and their experiences in Darwin (1943 - 44), New Guinea (Jan - Feb 1944) and Borneo and Morotai (Jan - Aug 1945). 

    The donation, which represents the single largest collection of works by WEP in a public collection, consists of illustrated letters, paintings, sketches, drawings, photographs and ephemeral material related to his time as a war correspondent.

     

    What

    Announcement of significant donation of William Edwin Pidgeon items

    When

    3.00 pm, Friday 28 February 2014

    Who

    - Dr Brendan Nelson, Director, Australian War Memorial

    - Claire Baddeley, Senior Curator, Australian War Memorial

    Where

    Administration Building, Australian War Memorial

    Please arrive by 2.45 pm and enter via Administration Building

    Please note that the space of the media moment is in a small, confined area.

     

    Background

    - William Edwin Pidgeon was a Sydney based painter who also worked as a cartoonist, illustrator, and newspaper critic. During the Second World War, Pidgeon worked as a war correspondent for Consolidated Press and his artworks were frequently featured on the cover of the Australian Woman’s Weekly. Pidgeon was able to relate the experience of war to a mostly female readership by depicting Australian soldiers carrying out familiar day-to-day tasks with a wry sense of humour.

    - Pidgeon won two first prizes and one highly commended for his paintings in the Australia at war exhibition over 1944 – 45. After resigning from his employment with Consolidated Press in 1949, Pidgeon focused on portrait painting and later went on to win three Archibald Prizes; 1958, 1961, and 1968. Pidgeon’s artworks are also held by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Art Gallery of Western Australia, and the Newcastle Art Gallery.

     

    CONTACT DETAILS

    Moj Nozhat                 02 6243 4575                                                   media@awm.gov.au

    Liz Holcombe              02 6243 4219              0409 600 038              liz.holcombe@awm.gov.au

     

    Thu 27 Feb 2014
  • Official war artist views works one Moore time

    On Tuesday 25 February, the Australian War Memorial will be welcoming one of only two remaining Second World War official war artists, Allan Moore, to his exhibition at the Memorial before it is taken off display on Wednesday 26 February.

    This will mark the first time the 99 year old will see his works of art in over 60 years since presenting it to the Memorial’s National Collection. The works on display were created in the 1940s, and include depictions of his eye witness accounts of the atrocities and horrors at the Bergen Belsen concentration camp in Germany. Allan Moore was the only Australian official war artist working in Germany to directly capture horrific scenes of the Holocaust.

    What:

    Allan Moore, Second World War official war artists, viewing works of art

    Where:

    Second World War galleries, Australian War Memorial

    Who:

    • Allan Moore, Second World War official war artist
    • Dr Brendan Nelson, Director, Australian War Memorial
    • Ryan Johnston, Head of Art, Australian War Memorial

    When:

    9.30 am, Tuesday 25 February

    Please arrive by 9.10 am and enter via rear security

    For more information regarding Allan Moore, please visit www.awm.gov.au/people/65112

    CONTACT DETAILS

    Moj Nozhat                  02 6243 4575              0409 600 038              media@awm.gov.au
    Liz Holcombe              02 6243 4219                                                  liz.holcombe@awm.gov.au

     

    Mon 24 Feb 2014
  • Baird family present Victoria Cross to the Memorial

    The family of Corporal Cameron Baird VC MG, will today hand over their son’s Victoria Cross to the Australian War Memorial.

    Baird’s Victoria Cross will be loaned to the Memorial, and displayed in the Hall of Valour in the coming months.

    Baird’s name is also inscribed on the Memorial’s Roll of Honour, along with the other 39 Australians killed in action in Afghanistan.

    What: Corporal Cameron Baird’s VC MG Victoria Cross handover

    When: 3.00 pm, Wednesday 19 February (please arrive by 2.40 pm at rear security)

    Who:

    • Mr and Mrs Doug and Kaye Baird (parents), and Brendan Baird (brother)
    • Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial
    • Major General Peter (Gus) Gilmore AO DSC, Deputy Chief of Army
    • Warrant Officer David Ashley OAM, Regimental Sergeant Major

    Where: Hall of Valour, Australian War Memorial

    Her Excellency the Honourable Quentin Bryce AC CVO, announced on Thursday 13 February that Corporal Cameron Baird VC MG had been posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia.

    Corporal Baird is the fourth recipient of the Victoria Cross for Australia, which in 1991 replaced the imperial award.  

    When Corporal Baird’s Victoria Cross goes on display later this year, it will become the 70th Victorian Cross on display at the Memorial (this total includes three British medals).

    CONTACT DETAILS

    Moj Nozhat                 (02) 6243 4575            0409 600 038        media@awm.gov.au
    Liz Holcombe              (02) 6243 4383            0401 464 563        liz.holcombe@awm.gov.au

    Wed 19 Feb 2014
  • Memorial to unveil centenary logo, public invited

    The public are invited to the launch of the Memorial’s First World War centenary logo on Wednesday 19 February 2014 from 8.30 pm at the front of the Australian War Memorial.

    Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial, will unveil the new centenary logo by projecting it onto the face of the main Memorial building.

    Following the launch, John Schumann (ex Redgum) will be performing two songs with Hugh McDonald (ex Redgum) and Alex Black on the forecourt at the Memorial. All three are members of “John Schumann and the Vagabond Crew”.

    The Memorial’s centenary logo will also be projected on the building from 8.30 pm to 11 pm on Thursday 20 February and Friday 21 February 2014.

    The logo will represent the Memorial’s First World War centenary exhibitions, events, projects and activities over the next four years.

     

    WHO: Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial

    WHAT: Launch of Memorial’s centenary of the First World War logo and performance by renowned singer–songwriter John Schumann and band

    WHERE: Front of the Memorial

    WHEN: 8.30 pm, Wednesday 19 February 2014

    Subsequent projections:  8.30 pm – 11.00 pm, Thursday 20 February and Friday 21 February

    PARKING: Please park in the Memorial’s visitor carparks located off Treloar Crescent.

     

    For enquiries

    Diane Morris              (02) 6206 9825                        diane.morris@awm.gov.au

     

    Mon 17 Feb 2014