The Recent Conflicts Gallery redevelopment was formally relaunched last Friday by The Honourable Linda Dessau AC Administrator of the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia. The launch highlight was a panel of current and former Australian Defence Force personnel speaking about the realities of modern conflict, lead by Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG.
The Gallery is a permanent exhibition prominently relating the real-life accounts of courage and sacrifice. Visitors can discover the human stories behind the headlines and find out what it was really like to serve in Australia’s twenty-first century wars. One such story belongs to Corporal Chris May who sustained injuries after the car he was travelling in was hit by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.
Friends of the Shrine can attend public programs for free. General admission is $5 per person. Bookings essential.
ANZAC Nurse at Villers-Bretonneux
Thursday 8 March, midday
Sister Florence James-Wallace was stationed at Villers-Bretonneux during the early stages of the 1918 German offensive. She described it as resembling Dante’s Inferno. The hospital overflowed with badly wounded men and hundreds more lay in the streets on stretchers needing her nursing skills. This is her story.
Saturday 24 March, 10.30am and midday
Tours depart from the Visitor Centre
As the leaves start to turn, explore the Shrine on this special guided tour. Uncover the creative vision and symbology behind the beautiful flora. The sprawling gardens provide respite from the bustle of Melbourne and are a sacred pilgrimage site to remember those who have served our nation in peacekeeping and war. The tour includes a Devonshire Tea in the Visitor Centre.
In 1918 a few daring, low-ranking Australian infantrymen, alone among all the armies on the Western Front, initiated stealth raids without orders. Join Lucas Jordan as he examines this distinct but neglected group who killed Germans, captured prisoners and advanced the line, sometimes thousands of yards; and almost always without command on either side knowing.
Saturday 17 March, midday
Wreath Laying in the Sanctuary
Melbourne’s 14th Infantry Battalion and Footscray’s 32nd Infantry Battalion were both formed in 1921 and merged in 1942. During the Second World War, the 14/32 undertook garrison duties and long-range coastal patrols in Victoria and Western Australia, before serving two years in New Guinea and New Britain. The association will be joined by students from St. Michael’s Grammar School as part of the Adopt an Ex-Service Organisation program.
Entry to exhibitions is by donation. All proceeds support the Shrine Education Program.
The Soldiers’ XI
Closing Monday 2 April
Eleven cricket bats, each tells a story of tensions in the twenty-first century. The exhibition reveals the resilience of the service men and women whose lives became a little bit easier due to the bonds forged through their shared love of cricket.
Discover the struggles and glory of the Allied forces against Japan’s powerful navy and the role that the Royal Australian Navy played from December 1941 to September 1945 in securing the ultimate Allied Victory.
While Australian infantry served in the grim trenches of the Western Front, their comrades in the Australian Light Horse were fighting a dynamic campaign against the Ottomans in the desert wastes of Sinai, Palestine and Syria. Featuring historic and contemporary paintings, and memorabilia from now legendary light horsemen.
Elka the Nurse Bear stands proudly in her First World War uniform. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this bear will be donated to Soldier On to help Australia’s physically and psychologically wounded servicemen and women.
Burning a candle in this charming ceramic poppy holder is a poignant way to remember the sacrifice made by Australian service men and women, both past and present. The candle holder fits a standard tea light candle. Available individually or as a set of three.
While held captive by the Japanese during the Second World War, Fred Lasslett wrote weekly letters home, keeping them hidden from his captors. Frank’s writings clearly describe what life was like as a prisoner of war, including the daily highs and lows in camp, the suffering experienced, and the humour and mateship that helped him survive.