Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance galleries

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1 Commando Regiment beret belonging to Private Greg Sher, KIA during a rocket attack in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan 04 January 2009.

I’ve just returned from a weekend trip to Melbourne and on Sunday afternoon, just before heading to the airport I found that I had a couple of hours to kill whilst ‘she who must be obeyed’ spent some time with her sister. I was at Flinders street station so decided to take a walk down St Kilda Road to the Shrine of Remembrance. The walk takes about 10 to 15 minutes and is quite a pleasant stroll, but in retrospect I should have taken the 5 minute tram ride (‘Stop 19 – Shrine of Remembrance’) as it would have given me more time to explore the new Galleries of Remembrance which were still under development last time I visited, back in mid 2014. But, it was a spur of the moment decision and whilst I regret not having more time to look at the exhibits it gave me a taster for my next visit.

 

The Eternal Flame near the footsteps of Victoria's Shrine of Remembrance.

The Eternal Flame near the footsteps of Victoria’s Shrine of Remembrance.

Built in 1934, the Shrine is the Victorian state war memorial. It was built to help a grieving Victorian community which lost 19,000 of it’s 114,000 enlistees killed in the First World War. They were buried in distant graves at a time when most Australians did not travel abroad. The Shrine provided a place where Victorians could share their individual and collective grief for the lives that they had lost. Designed by architects Phillip Hudson and James Wardrop, both World War 1 veterans, it is located in Kings Domain on St Kilda Road and was opened on the 11th of November 1934.
The Galleries of Remembrance were opened to the public on 11 November 2014. It utilizes 1600 square meters in a cathedral-like chamber beneath the Shrine and exhibits over 800 items illustrating the Australian experience of war from the 1850’s until the present day. Because of the time limitations I had, I did not go into the Shrine itself this time, but instead opted to check out these displays. Unfortunately the picture quality isn’t the greatest as they were just snapped on my iphone, but they will give you an idea of what is on the display.

Ballarat Rangers Helmet c.1880 in the Pre-Federation Gallery.

Ballarat Rangers Helmet c.1880 in the Pre-Federation Gallery. This helmet is a rare example of the type worn with the distinctive green uniform of the Ballarat Rangers. Formed on 26th July 1858, the unit was originally known as the Ballarat Volunteer Rifle Regiment but changed its name a month later.

Gallipoli landing lifeboat in the First World War Gallery.

Gallipoli landing lifeboat in the First World War Gallery. Lifeboat No. 5 landed on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 at around 4.10 am. The lifeboat carried men of the 12th Battalion, the 3rd Field Ambulance and the 3rd Infantry Brigade Headquarters

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Australian Flying Corps pilot’s brevet with officers pips and farriers trade badge in the AFC and 4th Light Horse display in the First World War Gallery.

WW1 Aviators helmet, goggles and jacket in the First World War G

WW1 Aviators helmet, goggles and jacket in the First World War Gallery.

Australian uniform as worn on the Western Front circa 1917.

Australian uniform as worn on the Western Front circa 1917.

First Word War Gallery display.

First Word War Gallery display.

Italian, German and French uniforms in the Second World War Gall

Italian, German and French uniforms in the Second World War Gallery

Australian Kokoda / New Guinea display in the Second World War G

Australian Kokoda / New Guinea display in the Second World War Gallery.

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Shirt worn by Alf Argent (3RAR) as part of the 28th Commonwealth Infantry Brigade, Malaya c. 1960.

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Viet Cong embroidered propaganda pendant of Ho Chi Minh in the “1966 The year that changed the world” temporary exhibition.

'Khats' by George Gittoes (March 1993)

‘Khats’ by George Gittoes (March 1993). Australian artist George Gittoes spent time in Somalia with the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR). He accompanied soldiers from 1RAR on night patrols in Baidoa and was fascinated by their electronic night vision goggles. He observed that; “People through their goggles lose their humanity… it is like playing a virtual reality game…” Meanwhile a local man experiences his own state of altered reality by chewing the stimulant plant, khat.

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Plaque from Rwanda c. 1995 presented to WO2 Robert Burgess (UNAMIR II) and UNTAC (Cambodia) patches collected by Private David Jess in 1993.

Australian patches related to Iraq 2003 - 2008.

Australian patches related to the Iraq deployments 2003 – 2008.

Afghanistan & Iraq gallery.

Afghanistan & Iraq gallery.

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Disruptive Pattern Desert Uniform (DPDU) shirt worn by Sgt Ricky Morris whilst serving as an engineer in Afghanistan from 2008 to 2009.

The Shrine of Remembrance is located on Birdwood Avenue and St Kilda Road, 1.3km from Flinders Street Railway Station. It can be reached by a nice 10 minute walk or by any St Kilda road south bound tram except route number 1. Disembark at tram stop 19 or the Domain Road interchange. If you are using the Melbourne Visitor Shuttle bus, disembark at Stop 13.

Admission is free and it is open from 10:00 until 17:00 (last entry 16:30) everyday except Good Friday and Christmas Day.  For more information visit the Shrine of Remembrance website here.

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A quick beer at the “Bull” Allen Bar at the Ballarat RSL.

I have just returned from an overnight trip to check out the Ballarat International Foto Biennale in Victoria. It’s thirsty work looking at photographic exhibitions and so naturally I dropped into the nearest pub for a quick beer or six. In this case it was The George on Lydiard Street in Ballarat, which also happens to be the home of the Ballarat Returned Services League (RSL) sub-branch. So, between beers, I snapped off these really dodgy alcohol infused and blurry pix on my iPhone.

Corporal Leslie "Bull" Allen carrying a soldier who had been knocked unconscious by a mortar round to safety during the assault on Mount Tambu in New Guinea on the 30 July 1943. Cpl Allen was awarded the American Silver Star for his action, rescuing 12 American soldiers during the battle. He had also received the Military Medal in February for his courage at Crystal Creek whilst serving with the 2/5th Infantry battalion.

Corporal Leslie “Bull” Allen carrying a soldier who had been knocked unconscious by a mortar round to safety during the assault on Mount Tambu in New Guinea on the 30 July 1943. Cpl Allen was awarded the American Silver Star for his action, rescuing 12 American soldiers during the battle. He had also received the Military Medal in February for his courage at Crystal Creek whilst serving with the 2/5th Infantry battalion.

The Returned Services League (RSL) was formed in June 1916 by Australian troops returning from World War 1. Its aims were to honour the memory of their fallen comrades, preserve the spirit of mateship formed during their service and help each other out. At the time of its formation, Australia still had a population of less than 5 million and by the end of the first world war, 324 000 Australians had volunteered and served overseas. Hardly a town was unaffected by the war and RSL sub-branches formed across the country. Requirements for entry and membership have changed over the years and members of the public can access some, such as the Ballarat sub-branch by visiting The George hotel.

"Bull" Allen bar of the Ballarat RSL

A small collection of militaria is on display in the “Bull” Allen Bar, named after a Ballarat born soldier, Corporal Leslie “Bull” Allen of the 2/5th Infantry Battalion who was awarded the Military Medal in February 1943 and then on July 30,  the US Silver Star for carrying to safety 12 American servicemen during an attack on Japanese positions at Mount Tambu during the Wau – Salamaua campaign.

Vietnam period jungle green shirt and WW1 german helmet in the " ballarat_rsl--3 ballarat_rsl--4 ballarat_rsl--5 Items belonging to VX77784, L/Sgt Geoffery Ronald Cook of the 2/ ballarat_rsl--9 ballarat_rsl--8 ballarat_rsl--10  ballarat_rsl--12 ballarat_rsl- Mess tins belonging to Items belonging belonging to POW, VX39853 Playing cards belonging to POW, VX39853 Paddy Mansfield.

Just behind the bar, in the atrium is ‘RSL walk’ which also contains showcases of Australian militaria covering several wars. It is not a vast collection but has some interesting personal artifacts and souvenirs, donated by its members and is definitely worth dropping in for a beer and a quick look.

“The George – Home of Ballarat RSL” is located at
27 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
Phone: +61 (03) 5332 3300

http://www.ballarat.rslvic.com.au