The papers of General Sir Henry George Chauvel are one of the highlights of the Memorial's written collections.  This collection contains numerous correspondence exchanged between “Harry” Chauvel and his family and also includes two spectacular, large leather bound, gold embossed, scrap books created by Lady Chauvel after the war. The volumes document Chauvel’s military engagements during the war and offer an insight into his actions and thoughts. They contain a selection of his letters, hand transcribed by his wife, as well as photographs, maps, field message notes and news cuttings. The first volume includes a water colour scene of Palestine signed by Will Longstaff and was bound using fine calf from the Chauvel family’s own animals. The second volume was bound by the Memorial in matching style following its donation.

Page about Damascus from Lady Chauvel's scrapbook

Of interest are the pages documenting the Australian’s entry into Damascus. These include a cutting from The Times on 3 October 1918 announcing the troops of the Australian Mounted Division entering Damascus on the night of 30 September . There are also two telegrams from the 1 October congratulating Chauvel, one from Lieutenant General Sir Edward Bulfin HQ XXI Corps, “21st Corps sends heartiest congratulations on your occupation of Damascus which brilliantly crowns a splendid series of successes”, and one from General Sir Edmund Allenby, “Congratulations on brilliant achievement” and signed “Chief”! Chauvel wrote to his wife on the 3 October about the occupation of the city:

We did not get within striking distance of Damascus until about 1 o’clock on the 30th. We were fighting all round the North, West and South of the city during the afternoon and night, Barrow having put in an appearance on the Southern Road, but did not get in (except for Grants Brigade (4th ALH Bde), temporarily under Bouchier, which got in to the Northern end of the city on the evening of the 30th) until about six o’clock on the morning of the 1st Oct. As soon as I knew my advance troops were in, I motored in to see the Wali to arrange about the civil administration.

He comments on the state of the city and the Hejaz Army entering the city following the Australian forces.

The streets are strewn with dead men, camels and horses, and the main street was simply full of people who were very hard to get through in a car, despite the fact that we had a gun car in front of us. Rifle shots were going everywhere, mostly, I think in the air, and to add to the confusion, some of the wild Arabs from the Hedjaz, who had followed my advance troops in, were galloping about indiscriminately.

His meeting with Lawrence is also mentioned in this letter:

At the Government Offices I met Lawrence, The British political advisor to the King of the Hedjaz, who had also followed my advance troops in from the South. (I forbear to remark on this action of his as I might be trespassing against our censorship regulations). He introduced me to the military governor with whom I fixed up all matters re the civil administration of the city. I then tried to get through to Hodgeson who had come in from the North, but could not, as a culvert had been blown up and there seemed to be only one road, and I had to turn back and go through all the beastly throng again to my Headquarters South of the city. Although it was unpleasant and difficult, the people were most demonstrative and cheered like anything. I eventually had to get some of Lawrence’s wild Arabians to clear the way for me!

Record number: PR00535

Robyn

Thomas Wingate, 1st Regiment New South Wales Rifle Volunteers, Victoria Barracks, 1861

Thomas Wingate, 1st Regiment New South Wales Rifle Volunteers, Victoria Barracks, 1861

Thomas Wingate's (1807-69) photograph of the 1st Regiment of the NSW Rifle Volunteers standing in order is among the earliest Australian photographs to document the military activities of colonial citizens. It records an important moment for one of the colony's first volunteer regiments. On 18 May 1861, the wife of the NSW Governor presented the corps with its regimental and camp colours in the Domain. One week later, the day this photograph was taken, the regiment held a review in the Domain to celebrate the Queen's birthday; this photograph was taken at the Victoria Barracks, before the regiment's journey to the Domain. The day marked the public debut of the regiment's new colours and flag, and was probably the occasion that prompted Wingate, who had recently relinquished his command of the corps, to take a photograph.

All Imagery for the book, Contact, was captured at 16bit, 600dpi, ProPhoto RGB at 200mm x 250mm. This then became our raw uncorrected file. From this file we prepared a master RGB file, where we dodged and burnt with density as well as contrast, utilising the Adjustment layer and layer mask features within Photoshop. Once all files were prepared in this fashion we were ready to place them into the designer’s (Brett Wiencke, Art Direction Creative, Manuka) Indesign layout, but before this could happen we had to create a CMYK profile that would characterise and optimise the chosen printing press. This was done by printing colour patches through the off-set printer, then measuring them against a predefined colour number and mapping the difference.

Armed with the Printer specific CMYK profile we converted all master RGB images to the CMYK profile, and then placed these image files into the Indesign document. With the colour management policies set correctly in Indesign we exported a print ready PDF.x file of the book and this was delivered along with in-house proofs to Goanna Print. For the Focus exhibition we produced Giclee fine art prints on Hahnemuhle photorag paper. This is a %100 cotton rag fine art paper. The master RGB file was corrected again repurposing for this material. As part of the re-purposing procedure we had to increase contrast and sharpen selected images. For the colour images the printing was done on the Crane Museo Silver Rag paper, a digital equivalent of a traditional fibre based paper and the above repurposing was also required.

Raw image:

BEFORE TREATMENT: Phillip Hobson, 3RAR in Korea, 1951 (HOBJ2046)

Corrected image:

AFTER TREATMENT: Phillip Hobson, 3RAR in Korea, 1951 (HOBJ2046)

Stephen Dupont, Members of Interfet and journalists, Dili, 1999

Stephen Dupont, Members of Interfet and journalists, Dili, 1999. C1042338

INTRODUCTION

On 6 August 1945, when the atomic bomb was unleashed above the city of Hiroshima, the world changed forever. Photographs of the devastation brought home in raw detail the shocking power of this ultimate weapon.

Photography has been bound in an intimate and changing relationship with war since its invention in the 19th century. Whether as a record, an analytical tool, propaganda or revelation, photography has played a critical part in forming our response to global and local conflicts, communicating these historic events through the mass media of press and television.

Photographers report the physical impact and the emotional effects of war, the tortured battleground, its deadly aftermath, and the civilian relief, humiliation and loss. Whether working in an official capacity, as freelance or affiliated photojournalists, or as serving soldiers, each photographer brings a direct and personal focus to their imagery of the human condition.

These images are often of people, whether military or civilian, operating at extreme levels of stress, where the waiting nerves, trained for action, are stretched taut with anticipation; others are jangled by the unexpected or dissolved in grief. Even the photographs of relaxation or entertainment hint at submerged depths of emotion and latent susceptibilities.

These photographers can take us beyond the surface of the image into new perceptions and responses to place, context, and emotion.

People involved in the exhibition

  • Patricia Sabine - Exhibition curator
  • Shaune Lakin - Exhibition co-curator
  • Hans Reppin, Bob McKendry and Steve Burton - Image preparation
  • Jude Savage, Jane Murray, Jason D'Arx and Charlotte Sarossy - Travelling exhibition coordinators
  • Jos Jensen and Ian Wingrove - Exhibition designers
  • Michael Thomas and Tina Mattay - Text editors

Lawrence worked for the Military Intelligence Department in Cairo as an intelligence officer from December 1914 to November 1916. His knowledge of the Middle East gained through his pre-war studies and work as an archaeologist in Syria and Sinai, were put to good use in Cairo gathering and collating intelligence on enemy troops throughout the Turkish Empire and producing maps in association with the civilian Survey of Egypt.Handbook of the Turkish Army, 1 March 1915In a letter to Charles Francis Bell in April 1915* he wrote:

Maps, maps, maps, hundreds of thousands of them, to be drawn, & printed, & packed up & sent off: - my job: - also in keeping track of Turkish Army movements.

According to Lawrence, intelligence was collated in Cairo from various sources including telegrams from Sofia, Belgrade, Petrograd, Athens, Basra and Tiflis. In his letter to Bell, Lawrence mentions that new information was also written into a book called the Handbook of the Turkish Army. The handbook was designed for extensive circulation and Lawrence, who also organised the printing of the book, mentions in his letter to Bell that thousands of copies were printed.

The principal authority on the handbook was Philip Graves. He was a former correspondent for The Times in the Middle East and from 1910, regularly passed information to British Intelligence about terrain, roads and railroad development in the Ottoman Empire. He was also the half brother of the poet Robert Graves.

Lawrence and other staff in the Cairo intelligence department contributed information to the handbook which required constant updating to take into account the latest reports they received. There were eight Cairo editions published between January 1915 and February 1916. Graves based these Cairo editions on a 1912 edition of the handbook which was produced by the War Office in London. Changes to the Turkish Army as a result of the outbreak of war were embodied in Graves’ first 1915 Cairo edition.

The Memorial holds three copies of these now rare books, the 2nd Cairo provisional edition, 1 March 1915, the 6th Cairo provisional edition, October 1915 and the 8th provisional edition, 10 February 1916. Private, Turkish Infantry - rear

The Handbook also includes photographs to help identify soldiers of the Turkish Army.

Source:

Malcolm Brown, The letters of T.E. Lawrence (London: J.M. Dent, 1988.) [*Letter to Charles Francis Bell p.71]

Intelligence Department, Cairo, Handbook of the Turkish Army (Cairo: Government Press, 1916)

Jeremy Wilson, Lawrence of Arabia: the authorised biography of T.E. Lawrence (London: Heinemann, 1989)

Yigal Sheffy, British military intelligence in the Palestine campaign, 1914-1918 (London: Cass, 1998)

Robyn Van Dyk

[This post above came about as a result of research into our own collections for the exhibition. When we looked at the records Robyn had selected to support our exhibition, Nigel remarked that these handbooks were now pretty scarce and that the IWM had to borrow one for their exhibition. Further research by Robyn and Nigel revealed that Lawrence contributed to the production of these handbooks in Cairo and the cover of the book shown clearly tells us that this copy belonged to the HQ of the 4th Australian Infantry Brigade, providing yet another connection between Lawrence and Australian forces. Lawrence was one of several Middle East experts in the Intelligence Department and their work proved to be impressive and professional. Obviously, his knowledge of the Turkish Army would later prove valuable to the forces he worked with in the Arab Revolt. MB.]

Background

Regimental Colours are the focal point of all the loyalty, spirit and traditions that made their regiment great. Emblazoned with Battle Honours, they are expensive and precious items, intricately hand embroidered on silk with metal and silk threads. Before being presented, Colours are always consecrated at a religious ceremony where God's blessing is requested. In earlier days the colours were trooped through the ranks prior to an engagement so that they could be recognised by all ranks as a rallying point during the battle. Today the Trooping of the Colours through the ranks of the Regiment continues as a ceremonial tradition. Customarily, when a Regimental Colour was too old to be used, or no longer required it was hung in a church. Today it is more common for Regimental Colours to be given to a museum for long term care. The Regimental Colour of the 49th Battalion was given to the Australian War Memorial in 1958.

49th Battalion Regimental Colours

Construction

The regimental colour is made from one layer of green silk, edged with gold. The 49th Infantry colour patch is appliqued onto the center of the colour and is encircled by embroidered gold metal thread. Rich silk embroidery depicting a garland of flowering wattle and the King's crown surround the colour patch. The motto 'SEMPER FIDELIS' (Always Faithful) is embroidered in gold metal thread onto green silk that is appliqued onto the colour beneath the wattle garland. Yellow Battle Honours embroidered with the names of 10 battles are appliqued onto the flag on either side of the central colour patch and embroidery.

Flag parts

Condition

Given its age and original use, the colour was in remarkable condition. The major damage consisted of tears to the top and bottom edges of the colour along the hoist seam. The upper corner had suffered earlier damage and had been repaired with a matching square of green silk attached to the face of the colour with machine zigzag stitching. Some yellow scroll ends had damaged stitching and were lifting from the green ground fabric of the colour. Other minor damage consisted of loose embroidery threads, and the loss of metal coating from some areas of the fringing. Due to the large amount of embroidery and applique work, the ground fabric of the colour was slightly wrinkled from uneven tension and is also creased due to previous folded storage.

Condition sketch

Treatment

In all conservation work, objects are fully documented before any treatment can begin. Photographs, diagrams and written reports give detailed information on the materials, construction and condition of the object prior to conservation. Treatment is also fully documented so that conservators in the future have a treatment history that details specific materials and techniques that have been used.

During treatment of the 49th Battalion Regimental colours, the tears along the hoist seam were repaired with specially dyed silk backings. Loose embroidery threads and appliqued pieces were secured with stitching where necessary, and treatment to reduce the creases was carried out.

Mounting for Vertical Display

The regimental colour is displayed vertically on a fabric-covered board in Anzac Hall. To lessen the problem of creasing caused by the tension of the embroidery and metal thread fringe, a pillow was made to sit underneath the colour. The colour was laid over the pillow and secured to the fabric covered board with a row of running stitch. Stitching in the areas of green silk was avoided due to the tight weave and fragile nature of the fabric.

The hoist edge was secured to the backing board by a length of specially dyed crepeline ribbon that was threaded through the hoist channel and stitched to the backing board at the top and bottom edges. The metal thread fringe also needed to be secured to prevent it from drooping along the top edge on vertical display. This was achieved using a common textile conservation technique called 'couching'. A length of silk thread was passed through the looped ends of each fringe. Another length of silk thread was then passed under the backing fabric and over the first thread every 2.5cms to secure it to the backing board and hold the fringe in place.

Couching sketch

Exhibition object

This Imperial German Consular Service pith helmet is part of Forging the Nation, Federation - the first 20 years, the Australian War Memorial's exhibition celebrating the Centenary of Federation. The helmet was worn by Major Friedrich Wilhelm Von Ploennies, German consul in Brisbane in the late 1890's, as part of his formal uniform. The helmet, which is a good example of imperial imagery, was included in the exhibition to illustrate that Germany had extensive colonies in the South West Pacific. When war was declared in 1914, one of the first acts in Australia was to seize many of these possessions, changing Australia from a colony into a colonial power.

Construction

The helmet is constructed of two layers of moulded cork, and is covered with a stitched and fitted cream - coloured drill fabric which is then glued over the cork. Various brass components including a chin strap, spike base, spike with horsehair plume have then been attached to the helmet to complete it.

Condition

The pith helmet was in poor condition when it was accepted into the Australian War Memorial's collection. The fragile cork of the crown had cracked and collapsed as the result of old water damage and there was extensive brown water staining of the fabric covering. The metal fittings were also tarnished and most of the pipe clay coating which would have been applied to the helmet to keep it white had disappeared.

Stained and disfigured Helmet prior to conservation AWM REL/22061.001c

Treatment

As with all conservation treatments the first step was the examination of the object and documentation of its construction and condition using diagrams and photographs. This is done to inform the conservator about the nature of the object including the materials of construction, the way those materials have been put together, and the extent and causes of deterioration before any treatment procedure in formulated.

Where possible, conservators seek to stabilize and minimize the chemical and physical deterioration of heritage objects to prolong their existence. Minimal intervention in the fabric of the object is highly desirable. However, conservation treatment may involve restoration to return the object to an earlier, known state where damage and deterioration is severe. The degree of damage to this helmet warranted a full restoration treatment

The biggest challenge was to re-contruct the damaged crown of the helmet so that it could support the weight of the brass fittings. It was decided that it would be necessary to remove the broken pieces of cork and replace them with a new crown.

Close up of the damage to the crown of the helmet. AWM REL/22061.001d
Lining removed from helmet, exposing the damaged cork in the crown. AWM REL/22061.001a

Conservation practice demands that only materials that are highly chemically stable with good aging properties that are not detrimental to the object, be used in treatments. Many commercially available products have poor aging properties and can cause damage to the objects to which that added as they deteriorate over time. The helmet was supported upside down and the crown lined to prevent the fill material coming into direct contact with the fabric. A stiff epoxy fill was made from a conservation-grade epoxy and bulking agent, and pressed into the crown ensuring that the fill conformed to the correct shape for the helmet. Once the fill was cured and hard, it provided a rigid, lightweight, removable fill which could support with weighty brass fittings and give the object its correct shape.

The metal fittings were lightly cleaned to remove the tarnish and then waxed to prevent retarnishing from occuring. After careful consideration, it was decided that the fabric surface should be recoated with pipe clay to cover the water staining and restore the helmet to its original appearance.

Helmet - partially re-coated with pipe clay during conservation AWM REL/22061.001e

Display

After 74 hours of treatment the helmet was restored to its Federation appearance and was included in the Forging the Nation exhibition which was on display at the Memorial and in other venues from October 2000 and February 2002.

Helmet after conservation. AWM REL/22061.001b

Contributors: Sarah Clayton and Gina Drummond

Subscribe to