Biography

Birth date: 20 January 1888
Birth place: Australia: Victoria, Dean
Death date: 07 October 1975
Death place: Australia: Victoria, Geelong
Service number: 8839 - First World War, 1914-1918
Unit: 23rd Australian Infantry Battalion

Wallace Anderson's legacy as a great Australian sculptor is encapsulated in the First World War dioramas and a number of bronze sculptures at the Australian War Memorial. Anderson worked on the dioramas and related plan models from 1918, when a modelling section was formed within the Australian War Records Section in London immediately after the November armistice. He not only contributed engineering and sculptural knowledge to this undertaking, but his combat experience enabled him to describe the war devastation that had occurred in the areas depicted.

Having the means to attend secondary school, Anderson was enrolled at Geelong College from 1902 to 1903, after which he studied engineering at Gordon Technical College from 1904 to 1905, where he also took modelling classes at night. He later attended night classes for life-drawing at the Victorian Artists Society, and for drawing at the National Gallery School, while teaching art by day at Sunshine Technical School.

In June 1915 Anderson enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) at Melbourne. He was 5ft 8 inches (173cm) tall, with a fresh complexion, hazel eyes and brown hair. He attended officer training school at Broadmeadows, as well as musketry school and 1 machine-gun school. In May 1916 he married Gladys Ada Andrews at Scots Church in Melbourne and two months later he embarked on HMAT Armadale (A26) for posting at an Instructional Camp in England.

Anderson was sent from England to France in January 1917, where he served as a Lieutenant in the 23rd Battalion. His early war service with the 23rd Battalion involved action near the town of Albert, Mouquet Farm, and Bullecourt. His diary records the futility and sickening violence of the Western Front. Due to a request from his friend, Lieutenant Sidney Gullett, Anderson was seconded to assist in gathering information for the Australian War Records Section. This in turn led to his appointment as museums officer and sculptor to the AIF in April 1918.

Based in the Australian War Records Section in London, Anderson became head of the Modelling Subsection, tasked with researching and constructing the Memorial s first dioramas. His associates in this included painter Louis McCubbin and sculptor Web Gilbert. Following the war, Anderson, McCubbin and Gilbert toured the battlefields of Belgium, France, Egypt, Palestine and Gallipoli in order to gather visual information. They made sketches, watercolours and plasticine models.

The men returned to Australia in 1920 after completing fieldwork, to begin construction of the dioramas and topographical models in the Australian War Museum (as the Memorial was called at the time) Exhibition Building at Fitzroy, Melbourne. Anderson continued with the Memorial until 1930, when he began working as a private sculptor. He resumed his position at the Memorial in the late 1930s working until after the Second World War, assisting with the compilation of models and other artefacts as the Memorial was transferred from Melbourne to Canberra.

On his own initiative, Anderson produced a series of commemorative sculptures for the Memorial, which symbolise the ANZAC spirit. The men depicted in his sculptures - Evacuation ART09633, Defence of ANZAC ART13664 and Water carrier ART14074 - embody the ideal of healthy, young Australians sent to fight at Gallipoli, perpetuated in the ANZAC legend. His most famous sculpture, however, is Man with the donkey at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. Some of Anderson's personal papers are in the Private Records collection at the Memorial.

Rolls and Awards

Collection Items

Photograph

043592

AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL, CANBERRA, ACT 1976. WORLD WAR 1 DIORAMA TITLED BATTLE OF ROMANI, 1916. SCULPTURE: W. WALLACE ANDERSON. LANDSCAPE: LOUIS MCCUBBIN.

043592

069339

CANBERRA, ACT. 1956-07-23. THE ROMANI DIORAMA WHICH IS ON EXHIBITION AT THE AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL. THIS DIORAMA SHOWS THE AUSTRALIAN COUNTER ATTACK AGAINST THE TURKISH FORCE ON THE LONG SAND DUNE OF MOUNT MEREDITH ON THE 1916-08-04. SHORTLY AFTER DAWN THE NEXT DAY THE TURKS WERE ROUTED, AND AS A...

069339

136084

AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL EXHIBIT. WORLD WAR I DIORAMA TITLED: LONE PINE, 1915. SCULPTURE: W. WALLACE ANDERSON. LANDSCAPE: G. BROWNING.

136084

B02971

View of Mount Meredith. In the foreground from left to right mounted are Lieutenant L McCubbin, an Indian Orderly, Lieutenant C Web Gilbert, Lieutenant W W Anderson and four Bedouins. This photograph was taken to assist the official artist in the construction of the Romani diorama.

B02971

J06706

ARTILLERY MODEL, FOR AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL BY W.W. ANDERSON, PANORAMIC A. AND B.

J06706

J06706A

ARTILLERY MODEL, FOR AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL BY W.W. ANDERSON, PANORAMIC A. AND B.

J06706A

J06706B

ARTILLERY MODEL, FOR AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL BY W.W. ANDERSON, PANORAMIC A. AND B.

J06706B

J03021

A PHOTOGRAPH OF THREE SKETCH MODELS BY W.W. ANDERSON, SYMBOLISING "GALLIPOLI"

J03021

J03028

"THE WATER CARRIER." A MODEL EXECUTED BY W.W. ANDERSON. (A VIEW OF THE RIGHT HAND SIDE. FOR FRONT VIEW SEE J.306.)

J03028

J03029

"THE WATER CARRIER." A MODEL EXECUTED BY W.W. ANDERSON. (A VIEW OF THE LEFT HAND SIDE. FOR FRONT VIEW SEE J.306.)

J03029

J03379

"THE EVACUATION" - A SYMBOLICAL FIGURE PORTRAYING THE MOOD IN WHICH THE AUSTRALIANS RECEIVED THE ORDER TO EVACUATE GALLIPOLI, BY W. WALLACE ANDERSON. (TRANSFERRED FROM "A" SERIES A. 2864.)

J03379

E05912

Lille, France. 15 December 1919. Group portrait of the staff of the Australian Modeling Subsection. These were the last of the AIF to leave France. Lieutenant W. W. Anderson, Officer Commanding. No identification details were recorded for the men in this group.

E05912

Art

Bust of digger with hat

Unidentified soldier, open necked shirt and slouch hat with brim let down.

ART09632

Evacuation

The first sculpture acquired for the Memorial's art collection. The figure represents the ideal Australian soldier at Gallipoli, leaning against a broken gun carriage, with his foot placed on a Turkish flag. Clay version made in 1925, plaster made in 1926 and purchased by the Memorial, then cast...

ART09633

Defence of Anzac

Two soldiers wearing 'Anzac uniform' - hats, shorts made from cut down trousers, boots and socks, one with bare torso and one with improvised short sleeved shirt, one carrying rifle and bandolier around chest, the other carrying a four-gallon tin and a sack slung over his shoulders. Depicted during...

ART13664

Water carrier

Bronze statue of a First World War soldier wearing 'ANZAC uniform' (bare torso, shorts made from cut down trousers, hat, boots and socks) carrying three four-gallon tins used for water storage and collection.

ART14074

The guard

Figure of a Naval rating.

ART14125

The Gunner

Figure of a Naval rating.

ART14126

Australian soldier

Depicts a bronze bust of a typical Australian soldier. This bronze edition was cast in 1994 from the original plaster cast from 1926.

ART90166

Cobbers

This sculpture depicts two Australian infantrymen. One is standing about to throw a grenade, while the other kneeling with his rifle in both hands. This is the original plaster version of 'Cobbers'. In 1932 Anderson approached the Australian War Memorial with the notion of producing copies of...

ART90834

Semakh

This diorama depicts events relating to 25 September 1918 when the 4th Light Horse Brigade was ordered to attack the village of Semakh, which it proceeded to do in the approved light horse manner - riding up, dismounting, and then acting like infantry. The keystone of the enemy's defence was the...

ART91119

Cobbers

This sculpture depicts two Australian infantrymen. One is standing about to throw a grenade, while the other kneeling with his rifle in both hands. This is a bronze version of the original plaster version of 'Cobbers' [ART90834]. In 1932 Anderson approached the Australian War Memorial with the...

ART41002

Romani

The sculptor Wallace Anderson was chosen to work on 'Romani' as he had been to the battlefields to collect information and had served in the First World War. The diorama shows the Australian counter attack against the Turkish forces on the long dune of Mount Meredith on 4 August 1916. It records...

ART41024

The guard

A plaster model for the bronze edition (ART14125) that depicts a naval officer, dressed in seaman's uniform and cap, standing on guard with legs apart and hands behind his back.

ART94011

Evacuation of wounded: Walking wounded dressing station

Fourth in the series of nine dioramas depicting the scheme of evacuation practiced at the Battle of Messines in France.

ART41025

Evacuation of wounded: Where the walking wounded and stretcher cases part company

Third in the series of nine dioramas depicting the scheme of evacuation practiced at the Battle of Messines in France. This model shows stretched cases being loaded on to a light tramway and being pushed to the Advanced Dressing Station for further treatment.

ART41026

Evacuation of wounded: Regimental aid post

Second in the series of nine dioramas depicting the scheme of evacuation practiced at the Battle of Messines in France. This model shows the walking wounded and stretched cases arriving at a Regimental Aid Post in a support stretcher.

ART41027

Evacuation of wounded: In the thick of the fight

First in a series of nine dioramas depicting the scheme of evacuation practiced at the Battle of Messines in France.

ART41028

Evacuation of wounded: Advanced dressing station

Fifth in the series of nine dioramas depicting the scheme of evacuation practised at the Batle of Messines in France.

ART41030

Evacuation of wounded: General hospital

Eighth in the series of nine dioramas depicting the scheme of evacuation practised at the Battle of Messines in France, showing No.2 General Hospital at Wimereaux.

ART41033

Evacuation of wounded: Hospital ship

Ninth in the series of nine dioramas depicting the scheme of evacuation practised at the Battle of Messines in France.

ART41034

Ypres

This diorama shows the method for attacking German 'pillboxes', concrete strong-posts fortified with machine-guns. This work depicts a scene in the swamp of Nonne Boschen, east of Ypres, on 20 September 1917. Rifle-grenadiers and Lewis gunners attack the position from the front, while bayonet...

ART41023

Lone Pine

This diorama depicts the attack of the Turkish position known as Lone Pine on 6 August 1915. As the sun was sinking behind Imbros and Samothrace, the Anzacs made their determined charge against the enemy's position. The trenches were roofed over with pine-logs which the Australians tore away and...

ART41017

Evacuation of wounded: Casualty clearing station

Seventh in the series of nine dioramas depicting the scheme of evacuation practised at the Battle of Messines in France. This model shows a Casualty Clearing Station where the wounded received further treatment and emergency operations were performed as patients were brought from the front line.

ART41032

Evacuation of wounded: Main dressing station

Sixth in the series of nine dioramas depicting the scheme of evacuation practised at the Battle of Messines in France.

ART41031

Somme winter

The scene shown in this diorama is near a sunken road, “Fritz’s Folly”, mainly held by the Germans and taken and lost in some of the most difficult fighting of the war. It illustrates the appalling conditions in which both sides lived and fought on the Somme during the dreadful winter of...

ART41020

Private Record

Timeline

Date of birth 1888-01-20
Date of death 1975-10-07