Sport and War

Sport and WarWhat it means to be Australian is no easy thing to define. But clearly two strong factors in our national identity are sport and war.

Throughout the nation’s history both have featured strongly. Qualities we associate with both sport and war — courage, teamwork, leadership, physical prowess, mateship, loyalty — are readily seen to be fundamental part of the “Australian identity”. Sport has helped shape Australians who have gone to war. And war has helped to shape Australian sport. Both activities have determined not just how Australians see themselves, but how the world sees them.

Drawing on the Memorial’s rich collections, Sport and War tells remarkable stories of the importance of sport to Australians serving overseas, as well as the war-time experiences of some of most loved sporting stars.

Displays include a ‘Brownlow medal’ presented in Changi prisoner of war camp and a well-worn footy jersey from the muddy playing fields of the western front. The tragic loss of Aussie Rules star Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott is explored along with Keith Miller’s career-boosting performances in the 1945 Victory Tests.

This exhibition is supported by Visions of Australia, an Australian Government Program supporting touring exhibitions by providing funding assistance for the development and touring of cultural material across Australia.

The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) is a proud sponsor of Sport and War. As the governing body that manages, develops and invests in sports in Australia, this partnership reflects how sport and war have both played a major role in shaping Australia's culture and identity.

Listen to stories of sport and war (5.1Mb MP3 file) as told by Rebecca Britt, curator of Sport and War.

Sport and War
Gallery City State Start Finish
Wagga Wagga Regional Art Gallery Wagga Wagga NSW 01 September 2006 12 November 2006
State Library of Queensland Brisbane QLD 26 January 2007 29 April 2007
Gladstone Regional Art Gallery Gladstone QLD 17 May 2007 19 June 2007
Hervey Bay Regional Gallery Hervey Bay QLD 05 July 2007 05 August 2007
Hazelhurst Regional Art Gallery Gymea NSW 01 September 2007 14 October 2007
Grafton Regional Gallery Grafton NSW 01 November 2007 06 January 2008
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery Launceston TAS 01 March 2008 25 May 2008
State Library of Victoria Melbourne VIC 11 July 2008 26 October 2008