Prime Minister presents symbols of war in Afghanistan to Memorial
Published: Wed 30 Oct 2013
The Prime Minister, the Hon. Tony Abbott MP, today presented the Australian War Memorial with two significant objects from Tarin Kot that encapsulate part of the Australian experience of war in Afghanistan.
The two objects – an emblem featuring a kangaroo and a boomerang, and an improvised bell – were presented to the Prime Minister in Afghanistan yesterday. The Prime Minister, who arrived back in Australia this morning, presented both objects to the Memorial’s Director, Dr Brendan Nelson. These objects will go on display in the Memorial’s latest exhibition, Afghanistan: the Australian story.
“I would thank the Prime Minister for personally transporting these significant objects back to Australia. They are important symbols of what Australians have endured and achieved in Afghanistan. The Memorial is proud to receive them into the National Collection,” said Dr Nelson.
“These are the first of a number of objects from Tarin Kot that will become part of the Memorial’s collection. Objects such as these are a vital part of ensuring that the Memorial continues to uphold its commitment to telling the story of those Australians involved in fighting the war in Afghanistan and rebuilding the country.”
For as long as Australians have been serving overseas, they have been decorating their uniforms, vehicles and buildings with identifiable symbols of our nation, including the kangaroo and the boomerang. Serving to distinguish Australians and to remind them of home, the kangaroo and boomerang emblem has become a badge of honour proudly displayed and worn by members of the successive Australian Task Forces serving in Afghanistan in areas of reconstruction through to mentoring and advising.
The emblem presented to the Memorial was mounted on the wall of “Poppy’s”, a communal recreational area for off-duty troops named after Trooper David “Poppy” Pearce, who was killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2007.
The bell has been improvised from a discarded artillery shell case, capturing the same make-do spirit Australian servicemen showed on the battlefields of the First World War. The bell hung outside the ‘Ghan chapel’ in Tarin Kot.
Afghanistan: the Australian story, which opened in August 2013, presents the experiences of Australian servicemen and women in Afghanistan and their families at home. The exhibition gives visitors to the Memorial a unique opportunity to recognise and understand the role of Australians in this conflict. It is both educative and moving.
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