Last week I had the enjoyable but sobering experience of visiting the Spirit of Anzac Centenary exhibition which is touring Australia at the moment. Fortunately I booked our tickets as soon as I saw it advertised on TV as they sold out very quickly.
After I booked we were emailed 'identity cards' to bring with us on the day and on arrival they were scanned at the entrance. Then our group was briefed on what to do and were sent over to collect an iPod Touch and headphones which provided a narration and sound effects as we walked through the various galleries.
The narration guided us through the different theatres of war that our troops and those from New Zealand were involved in and the sound effects of the battlefield were quite realistic.
We walked through this tent into another gallery which I think was about Gallipoli.
On the wall were photos of the troops and if you aimed the camera at individuals ....
...you could read their story.
The gallery with the gas masks was a bit eerie and it was so sad to read that both sides used gas. Apparently Germany's first effective use of gas was in Belgium in 1915 and the Allies adopted it soon afterwards. Breathing in the gas did not necessarily mean death but it could cause blistering, vomiting, burning, choking, collapse and suffocation.
This is a Vickers machine-gun mounted on a tripod which was the standard machine-gun used by the Australians during WW1. So that the gun didn't overheat, water was held in a jacket surrounding the barrel.
Corrugated iron trench covers were peppered with shrapnel and gunshot holes.
The Australians who fired the last shot before evacuation from what I think was Anzac Cove, kept the shell and had it inscribed to commemorate the event. In Egypt it was turned into a mess-room dinner gong!
This picture doesn't need any explanation :-(
I really wanted to get a good photo of this display but the glass was reflecting too much. The socks were knitted by fifteen year old Nellie Blain for her brother, Trooper Arthur Blain. She was in the middle of knitting one of them when she got news of his death in Gallipoli from head wounds. The unfinished sock was kept in memory of her brother until she died at the age of 98.
This is Frank Fisher who was Cathy Freeman's great grandfather. For those who don't know who she is she is a famous indigenous Olympian who won a gold medal in 2000.
Two ladies had set out to crochet 120 poppies for Remembrance Day in 2013. When people heard about their quest community interest grew quickly and within two years they had been sent over 250,000 handmade poppies from all the globe.
The poppies make a very striking display.
The Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience is well worth attending if it is visiting your city and, if it is, I would advise you to book your tickets as soon as possible as they sold out here very quickly as I have mentioned. There is a list of cities the exhibition will be coming to on this page. You can take a peek at the displays here as well. I can guarantee you will enjoy the experience even though it is very sobering.