Australian War Memorial WW1 gallery.
Megan Gorrey, Australian War Memorial’s World War I galleries officially opened, The Canberra Times, 22 February 2015
Handwritten letters, ageing relics and realistic dioramas helped paint a picture of Australia’s role in the Great War for father-and-son pair James and Aedan MacNamara at the weekend.
The Sydney pair travelled to Canberra for the official opening of the Australian War Memorial’s refurbished permanent exhibition, Australia in the Great War, on Sunday.
World War I relics that had never been displayed were unveiled when the galleries reopened to the public in December after a $34 million redevelopment.
The MacNamaras will journey to World War I battlefields in France and Turkey in April and Aedan, 12, said his trip to the new galleries had given him a greater understanding of the history and importance of what he would see.
“There were a lot of things I didn’t know about, like the Battle at Pozieres and all the fighting that happened in the Middle East.
“I thought there were only a few battles there, but we were quite involved.”
Mr MacNamara said the many personal effects on display, including photographs, diary entries and letters, generated a strong emotional connection.
“It’s not just facts and figures, it’s the human side as well.”
Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove launched the exhibition during a ceremony on Sunday morning and said it captured the nation’s involvement in the war in a way that was “full of depth and emotion, told with respect and dignity”.