In this the Anzac Centenary period, and as we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli in 1915, there’s no shortage of exhibitions on the subject of the Great War. But as our national and state institutions put their significant WWI collections on display, museum goers should be sure to check out the amazing stories being told in regional museums.
The Trumpet Calls – Albury’s WW1 Battery is a compelling new exhibition that tells just some of these stories. On display at Albury LibraryMuseum, this exhibition centres on the 13th Battery 5th Field Artillery Brigade AIF – known as the Albury Battery – and its role in the defence of a small village of Noreuil in France in 1917. The much loved Noreuil Park on the banks of the Murray River was named as a result of the brigade’s participation in this battle.
This exhibition centres on the 13th Battery 5th Field Artillery Brigade AIF – known as the Albury Battery.
This exhibition is more than just a military history, and the life-sized replica of Lieutenant Joseph Shellshear’s Western Front bunker is definitely a draw card. Visitors can use a smart phone app (on Apple or Android devices, or use the iPads provided in the gallery) to view a 3D image of the cannon used in the Battle of Noreuil, video narrations and other augmented reality content.
In addition to uniforms, medals, and items used on the battlefields, the wartime experiences of local officers and soldiers are told alongside those of an Indigenous solider and a soldier of Chinse descent. The exhibition highlights the contribution of women on the home front and in theatres of war, and tells the story of the internment of local residents of German descent.
One of the most moving stories, and one that is archetypal of the suffering causes by the war, is that of Sergeant Charles Bishop. Bishop served for three years of active service with the AIF and despite sustaining severe injuries, survived and returned to Albury, dying at the age of 37 from illness caused by his wartime service.
A lovely addition to the exhibition is the Poppy artwork, created as part of the 5000 Poppies project. Using knitted and crocheted poppies made by members of the community, local artist Bronwyn Cossor created a wall hanging which is on display in the main foyer LibraryMuseum. Beautiful in its simplicity, this cascade of 1582 poppies is symbolic and though provoking.
The Trumpet Calls is on show at Albury LibraryMuseum, corner of Kiewa and Swift Streets, Albury, until Sunday 7 June. Free guided tours will run each Saturday at 2.00pm for the duration. The LibraryMuseum is open every day.
Meet Emma Williams, Museum Curatorial Officer at Albury LibraryMuseum. Stay tuned for more from Emma as she continues exploring the fabulous museum and galleries in the Riverina.