Secrets revealed at Princess Royal Fortress as new exhibits celebrate hidden history of our past

Kellie BalaamAlbany Advertiser
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New artefacts on display in the Hidden Stories of the Fortress exhibit.
Camera IconNew artefacts on display in the Hidden Stories of the Fortress exhibit. Credit: Kellie Balaam

New exhibits at the Princess Royal Fortress Military Museum were shown to the public at the weekend, revealing hidden war secrets from our past.

A small crowd of veterans, past and present museum volunteers and the public gathered on Mt Adelaide to be the first to step foot inside the new exhibition, Hidden Stories of the Fortress.

Declared officially open with the turn of a key, the exhibition features artefacts and stories of those who lived and worked on Mt Adelaide in the late 19th and 20th centuries.

The upgrades include temperature-controlled rooms with new display cases, which allow treasures from the collection to be displayed to the public.

A grant from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs funded the first major upgrade to the main barracks gallery since it opened as a museum in 1979.

Princess Royal Fortress Military Museum curator David Theodore said he was surprised by how many stories were hidden away.

“When we were successful in getting the funding to tell these stories, you just jump at it,” he said.

“To say that the stories in there is the end of the story is an understatement — we’ve got so many more stories.”

Museum curator David Theodore.
Camera IconMuseum curator David Theodore. Credit: Kellie Balaam

Mr Theodore said the new displays were significant to Albany.

“There’s a big significance for the large family collections of soldiers who served here to bring them out on display all together, from 1893 to World War II,” he said.

City of Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington said delaying refurbishments because of COVID-19 was unfortunate but the new exhibitions were worth the wait.

“The Princess Royal Fortress has played an integral role in Albany’s history and indeed the history of Australia, with its presence being a major reason for the convoys of World War I converging off Albany’s coast,” he said.

The free exhibition is open daily, from 9am-4pm.

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