November 2016

Each year Australians observe one minute silence at 11 am on 11 November, in memory of those who died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts.

This year is the 98th anniversary of the armistice which ended the First World War.

If you are attending our Remembrance Day ceremony, you can register now for seating.

See our website for more information.

The longest war

An exhibition of a series of portraits depicting the impact of war on the family members of Australian servicemen and servicewomen is now on display.

Painted by Australian official war artist Ben Quilty, these portraits focus on the partners, children, and parents of Australian soldiers who served in Afghanistan. While family members have always played a vital role in Australian military history, their stories are often little known.

The Memorial commissioned Quilty to create portraits of people whose loved ones were either killed or suffered the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of their service in Afghanistan. The aim of the paintings is to raise awareness of the experiences of families in the aftermath of war, while acknowledging the unique and inspirational role they play.

Subjects Leesa Kwok, Elvi Wood, and Elle-Lou Diddams each had enormous pain and sorrow thrust upon them through their loved ones’ service in the Australian Defence Force. Quilty says he wanted to emphasise the ongoing battles that these women, and many others like them, continue to experience in what he calls Australia’s “longest war”.

The longest war will be on display at the Memorial until May 2017.

Maryang San: A victory against the odds

As dusk fell on 5 October 1951, Lieutenant Maurie Pears looked out from the summit of Maryang San, which he and his platoon had only just captured. He could see his comrades along the ridgeline below consolidating their newly-won positions and evacuating their casualties from a day of tough fighting. He could also see the massif of Kowang San across the valley, where he and his men had been only the day before. It was quite a view, but the battle was still not over.

Read the rest of this article on our website.

Unveiling of Corporal Weathers Victoria Cross

The Victoria Cross awarded to Corporal Lawrence Carthage Weathers during the First World War is now on permanent display at the Memorial, bringing the total number of VCs on display in the galleries to 79.

New Zealand-born Weathers, of the 43rd Battalion, Australian Imperial Force (AIF), was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 2 September 1918 near Péronne, France. He was instrumental in the storming of a strongly-defended German trench and the capture of 180 prisoners and three machine-guns. Weathers’ VC was one of eight awarded to Australian soldiers for their actions during the attacks at Péronne and nearby Mont St Quentin between 31 August and 2 September.

The citation for Weather’s Victoria Cross commends his “conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty”:

“Regardless of personal danger, he mounted the enemy parapet and bombed the trench, and, with the support of his comrades, captured 180 prisoners and three machine-guns. His valour and determination resulted in the successful capture of the final objective and saved the lives of many of his comrades.”

Weathers never learned of his recommendation for the Victoria Cross as he died in action just weeks’ later.

Talks and Tours

Visit our events calender for the full list of public tours and talks being offered at the Memorial this November:

Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience

The Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience is the flagship community event of the national Centenary of Anzac programme. Around 200 artefacts from the Memorial’s National Collection are included in the exhibition, which recently celebrated over 236,000 visitors on close in Darwin.

This month the exhibition will be travelling to Port Augusta from 9-14 November, then onwards to Perth for the remainder of 2016. For the start of 2017, the exhibition will be held in Eaton near Bunbury then Kalgoorlie before moving back to the east coast.

The exhibition is over halfway through its national tour with eight locations remaining. For a full list of venues, show times and information visit www.spiritofanzac.gov.au/

Online shop

2017 DVA Calendar: Animals in War

The 2017 Department of Veterans Affairs commemorative calendar focuses on the many roles that animals have played in Australia’s wartime history over the past century. Beginning with the contribution of military working animals such as horses, donkeys, camels, dogs and pigeons, the calendar goes on to explore the role of animals on the front line as mascots and companions, and details the appearance of animals in Australian military heraldry, artworks and wartime advertising.

Fully illustrated with images from the collections of the Australian War Memorial and Department of Defence, the calendar provides a useful and engaging insight into the experience of Australians in wartime, through an examination of the animals that have accompanied our service men and women into the front line.

Buy your copy now

Afghanistan: the Australian story DVD

Afghanistan and the Middle East are now forever part of Australia’s national story.

Produced by renowned ABC journalist Chris Masters, the film largely comprises interviews, film and photographs from the Memorial’s collection on display in our gallery Afghanistan: the Australian story.

It includes additional interviews with current and former members of Australian Special Forces, and explores the experiences of our serving personnel and its impact on them and their families.

This is a 2 DVD set including the 60 minute film and a bonus disc of interviews. Rated M.

Buy your copy now

Afghanistan: the Australian story will be shown on Channel 7 at 9.30 pm on Sunday 6 November and at 11.30 pm on Friday 11 November.

It will also be available through iTunes later this month.

Wartime – issue 76

Lachlan Grant’s article The fighting Gunditjmara tells the story of the Gunditjmara people from western Victoria, who have fought for country and for nation, from frontier wars to world wars. The article looks at how Aboriginal servicemen and servicewomen serving in the Australian military forces have often spoke of being part of a long-standing, continuous warrior tradition that embodies deep respect for their forebears who fought for their traditional lands.

Such sentiments were encapsulated by Captain Reg Saunders, a Gunditjmara man,  “I would have fought the war my forefathers fought because I think we were right. We were fighting for survival.” One of the most famous Australian soldiers of the Second World War, Saunders was the first identifiable Aborigine to be commissioned as an officer in the Australian Army. He is from a long line of Gunditjmara men and women – who have earned the reputation ‘the fighting Gunditjmara’ – who have served in the Australian military.

Find out more


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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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