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.
Announcement of significant donation of William Edwin Pidgeon items
3.00 pm, Friday 28 February 2014
- Dr Brendan Nelson, Director, Australian War Memorial
- Claire Baddeley, Senior Curator, Australian War Memorial
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.
- 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.
Moj Nozhat 02 6243 4575 firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz Holcombe 02 6243 4219 0409 600 038 email@example.com
Attachment Size AWM Media Alert - Life behind the lines portrayed in works from one of the largest donations.pdf 156.32 KB
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.
Allan Moore, Second World War official war artists, viewing works of art
Second World War galleries, Australian War Memorial
- Allan Moore, Second World War official war artist
- Dr Brendan Nelson, Director, Australian War Memorial
- Ryan Johnston, Head of Art, Australian War Memorial
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
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)
- 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).
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.
Diane Morris (02) 6206 9825 firstname.lastname@example.org
Attachment Size AWM Media Alert - Memorial to unveil centenary logo - public invited.pdf 229.96 KB
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.
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.
Australian War Memorial:
Moj Nozhat (02) 6243 4575 0409 600 038 email@example.com
Liz Holcombe (02) 6243 4383 0401 464 563 firstname.lastname@example.org
Eleanor Nichols (03) 9609 2360 0407 064 748 email@example.com
Attachment Size BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities contributes $1 million to the Australian War Memorial 104.72 KB
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.
Attachment Size Baird family presents Victoria Cross to the Memorial 133.01 KB
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
- 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.
Attachment Size United in remembrance at Last Post ceremony 102.12 KB
On Sunday 23 February the Australian War Memorial will be holding a special event, Of animals in war, to commemorate the role animals have played in support of Australia’s war efforts. The all-day family event will be an opportunity for those who have respect for the invaluable contributions of animals in Australia’s military history to honour those that served, suffered, and died alongside our soldiers.
Of animals in war will begin at 9.30 am with a commemorative ceremony, including:
- A welcome by the Director of the Memorial, Dr Brendan Nelson;
- An overview of the significant role animals have played in Australia’s military history by renowned animal trainer and behavioural advisor, Nigel Allsopp;
- A selection of moving songs relating to the sacrifice of war animals, as performed by award-winning country musician and equestrian Tania Kernaghan;
- Insightful stories told by the School of Military Engineering regarding the practical and vital support of Explosive Detection Dogs (EDD) in Afghanistan;
- A reading from acclaimed author, Anthony Hill;
- A chaplain’s blessing; and
- A wreathlaying ceremony.
A tribute wall of emotive war photography drawn from the Memorial’s National Collection and the Department of Defence will be displayed as a backdrop to the commemorative ceremony in order to encapsulate the practical and psychological roles animals have played in war.
Following the ceremony, a range of outdoor family-friendly activities and market stalls will take place in the Sculpture Garden of the Memorial. There will be demonstrations conducted by the School of Military Engineering and their EDDs, including a visit from retired EDD Sarbi, the RSPCA Purple Cross recipient who spent nearly 14 months missing in action after being separated from her handler in Afghanistan in September 2009.
An event for all ages, Of animals in war will include other key indoor and outdoor activities such as talks from the Australian Light Horse Association and the Canberra Racing Pigeon Combine, which will also release pigeons from Memorial grounds. There will be a range of informative and engaging public programs for the family, including art and craft, and story time.
The special event will be marked by a unique Last Post Ceremony. The School of Military Engineering will have their Explosive Detection Dogs lining the Pool of Reflection in honour of Sapper Darren Smith, 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment, and his Explosive Detection Dog, Herbie. Both Smith and Herbie were killed in action in Afghanistan in June 2010. The Last Post Ceremony is streamed daily online at www.awm.gov.au.
Join the Memorial at this special event to remember the service and sacrifice of all animals that have worked alongside Australians in support of our war efforts.
For more information, please visit www.awm.gov.au/events/animals-memorial.
*Visitors are invited to bring along their furry friends for the outdoor component of the event.
What: Of animals in war all-day family event at the Australian War Memorial
- Outdoor displays and activities: 9.00 am – 2.00 pm, Sculpture Garden
- Commemorative ceremony: 9.30 am – 10.30 am, Simpson and his donkey, 1915
- Indoor talks: 10.00 am – 4.15 pm, Courtyard Gallery and Galleries
- Last Post Ceremony: 4.55 pm – 5.10 pm, Commemorative Area
- Sunday 23 February 2014
- Dr Brendan Nelson, Director, Australian War Memorial
- Nigel Allsopp, author, animal trainer, and behavioural advisor
- Tania Kernaghan, Australian country musician
- Anthony Hill, Australian author
- School of Military Engineering with their EDDs
- Australian Light Horse Association
- Canberra Racing Pigeon Combine
For further information or interview requests for Dr Brendan Nelson or Tania Kernaghan, please contact:
- Members of the general public are welcome to bring their own seats or rugs; limited seating will be available on the day
- The Memorial encourages responsible pet ownership; please ensure you bring along the necessary equipment (e.g. leads, muzzles, appropriate pooper scoopers etc.) to keep your pet social and safe and to keep the grounds clean for all to enjoy
- The Memorial will have a number of water stations available for pets
- Food and beverage will be available for purchase from the Terrace Café
Attachment Size Media alert - Of animals in war event 374.56 KB
Note: the following was first published as a blog post on this website on 17 December 2013. The post can be read at www.awm.gov.au/blog/2013/12/17/response-question-about-frontier-wars .
Recently the Memorial was asked whether it was planning to tell the story of the conflicts between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Australia during the nineteenth century.
The Australian War Memorial was conceived during the terrible fighting on the Western Front in the First World War. Charles Bean, Australia’s official war correspondent (and later official war historian), was determined that Australians should be made fully aware of the service and extent of sacrifice of members of the Australian Imperial Force. Bean’s concept was for a national memorial that would commemorate what the nation had done during the war.
Today, the Memorial’s Council continues to adhere to Bean’s concept of honouring the services of the men and women of Australia’s military forces deployed on operations overseas on behalf of the nation.
The “Frontier Wars” were a series of actions that were carried out by British colonial forces stationed in Australia, by the police, and by local settlers. It is important to note that the state police forces used Indigenous Australians to hunt down and kill other Indigenous Australians; but the Memorial has found no substantial evidence that home-grown military units, whether state colonial forces or post-Federation Australian military units, ever fought against the Indigenous population of this country. The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is proud, however, that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have served in Australian military forces since before the Boer War and continue to serve today. Their service is the subject of significant ongoing research.
The protracted conflict that occurred during the colonial dispossession of Indigenous Australians is a tragic fact of Australia’s history, even if some details remain disputed owing to the paucity and unreliability of the records. The story of Indigenous opposition to European settlement and expansion is one that should be told, but which cannot be told by the Memorial. As defined in the Australian War Memorial Act 1980, the Memorial’s official role is to develop a memorial for Australians who have died on, or as a result of, active service, or as a result of any war or warlike operation in which Australians have been on active service. The definition does not include internal conflicts between the Indigenous populations and the colonial powers of the day.
In September 2013, the Director of the Memorial, Dr Brendan Nelson, addressed this query at an address given to the National Press Club. On that occasion Dr Nelson stated that the Australian War Memorial is concerned with the story of Australians deployed in war overseas on behalf of Australia, not with a war within Australia between colonial militia, British forces, and Indigenous Australians.
Dr Nelson agrees that our nation needs to reflect on the fact that the story of colonial conflicts has not been told in a national institution; however, the Memorial, concerned as it is with Australians serving overseas in peacekeeping operations or in war, is not the appropriate institution in which to do so. The institution best placed to tell those stories is the National Museum of Australia and perhaps some of the state-based institutions most likely to have artefacts or relics that exist from this period in our history. Dr Nelson has proposed to the National Museum of Australia that it consider presenting the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians through the course of the nineteenth century in a comprehensive way. Violent confrontation was one part of a broader history.
Attachment Size Media statement 27 January 2014 280.22 KB
- 1 of 13
- next ›