Saturday, January 30, 2010

G'day mates

Dear Knittah,

Eliza and I travelled to the land of Oz to visit Eliza's friends and see friend Todd's country before he relocates to the US. We flew to Sydney and took the train down to Canberra to see friends Cath and Kilian and their lovely daughters Isabella and Charlotte.

We had a lovely stay. Besides hanging out at home and doing much long overdue catching up, we got around Canberra a bit and visited the Australian War Memorial.

Here's a view from the Memorial back across to the old and new Parliament buildings.


I'm not aware of the US having a comparable museum--this one had all of the wars and all of the branches of the service. Really an impressive museum--we could have spent days there. Eliza had a hard time getting proper photos inside but here are a few:

The memorial has an incredible research section open to the public. Eliza learned later that week, from Todd's uncle at the engagement party, that the memorial has collected and digitized extensive records (including photos and letters and telegrams) from citizens. Todd's aunt has used it extensively to research the family's participation in the wars.

The research section at the War Memorial

A view of the memorial:

A view of the memorial

The Navy mosaic inside (apologies for the poor photo quality). There was a mosaic for each service branch and for women serving:

The Navy mosaic in the memorial

stainglass at the war memorial

Remarkable faces:

WWI faces

Simpson and his donkey at Gallipoli:

Simpson and his donkey brought water to the soldiers at Gallipoli

Simpson and his donkey

So simple yet so practical (do you think we did anything like that in Iraq?):

Old-fashioned phrase book...

The Korean section had a remarkable exhibit of telegrams and letters, which didn't turn out well in our photos. We didn't realize that POWs actually could get mail--it seems very Geneva Convention but really? in the Korean War? There was a wrenching series of telegrams notifying a mother first, that the government thinks her son is a POW but isn't sure yet and to stand by; second, that they think he is in fact a prisoner at a particular POW camp but that they don't have more information and she should contact the red cross; and then third, informing her that he'd been released and recovered and was on his way home.

In the children's section, which was very hands-on (with a trench with siting scopes; a helicopter; and a gadget where you could put your foot in and see what it would like with trench foot (this was REALLY gross)), there were some pages of 1940s magazines. This was funny: a women's magazine offering recipes to "spice things up," including Mexican chili burgers. Really. In 1940s Australia. Seemed funny.

1940s Aussie women's mag:  Mexican burgers? really?


Knittah said...

Very cool! The exhibits sound really fascinating, similar to the Ken Burns' series on WWII. Our generation has no concept of how much the Greatest Generation sacrificed.

noricum said...