Rare World War I display comes to city

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Curator David Theodore at the Married Quarters. Pic: Shannon Smith
Camera IconCurator David Theodore at the Married Quarters. Pic: Shannon Smith

Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington’s visit to Peronne in northern France last year led to the We Were Australian In Peronne exhibition travelling to Albany.

Peronne is known as Albany’s sister city because many Anzacs travelled from Albany to the town as they went to battle in World War I.

When visiting Peronne for the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, Mr Wellington accepted the offer to have the bilingual French-English exhibit shown locally.

The photography-based collection traces the route of Australian soldiers in 1918 in the Peronne and Mont Saint-Quentin sector.

He said the exhibition featured trench art and other significant artefacts.

“It is based on photographs that supplement the testimonies of Australian soldiers and addresses all aspects of the conflict, from the violence of war to daily life, relationship with civilians, death and the return home,” Mr Wellington said.

“Visitors will walk away from this exhibit with an understanding of what WWI might have been like for our Australian soldiers and a richer understanding of the Anzac story in Peronne.”

Some of the highlights include embroidered postcards, a rare set of silver-plated German bullets from the 1920s, trench art made by servicemen from bullets and shell castings, and a 1918 edition of The Australian Soldiers’ Magazine.

Mr Wellington said Albany was grateful to Peronne for allowing the items to be flown over.

“It is a testament to our ongoing relationship with our sister city that such a precious and delicate showcase has been sent across for our community to embrace, enjoy and explore,” he said.

The exhibition includes a 10-minute film, titled The Australians’ Final Campaign in 1918, with footage of Australians on the Western Front in the final months of the war.

The display is on until November 17 at the Princess Royal Fortress Military Museum.

Entry is free.

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