Exhibition to bring stories to museum

A MAMMOTH display of World War I artefacts and Tasmanian stories will be told in Launceston during a three-year exhibition to commemorate the Anzac Centenary.

The Great War 1914-1918: Sacrifice and Shadows exhibition will be on show at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery starting in August.

Curator and QVMAG history registrar Louise James said various programs would run throughout the exhibition and that adjustments would be made along the way.

``It is a little bit different to an ordinary exhibition in that people tend to think that we are putting on objects for display and letting them do the interpretation,'' she said.

``We will be doing that but we also look at people's response to big events, so our exhibition is a very personal exhibition based around people in Tasmania and how they coped with the war. It will show the personalities and characteristics of those people that survived the war.

``I am hoping it is not too sad as there are some wonderful stories.''

Key objects to be displayed include:

German light machine gun: A machine gun used by the German army and captured by the 12th battalion.

``We don't know where it came from, but in came in 1972 with the (Dudley) Ranson collection,'' Mrs James said

``Hopefully someone might know which platoon and where they captured it.''

Turkish hand gun: A Turkish hand souvenired by Westbury soldier Earnest Frank Daft, who served as a farrier on the Western Front.

Daft signed up in 1915, went to Gallipoli and returned in 1919.

``I don't know how he got it because most people that brought things back were quiet about it, as they weren't supposed to,'' Mrs James said.

German hand grenade: Nicknamed ``potato mashers'', the German hand grenade had several advantages over the British mills bombs. Mrs James said they were carefully hung on barbed wire fences as a booby trap, could be thrown further and were a lot less likely to roll downhill.

However, soldiers couldn't carry as many.

Sergeant Lewis McGee's Victoria Cross: The Victoria Cross of Sergeant Lewis McGee, of Avoca, will be on display and his  story told.

McGee was awarded the honour following his bravery in the Battle of Broodseindepart of the Passchendaele offensive in 1917, where he sacrificed his life to save his platoon that was under heavy machine gun fire.

Mrs James said McGee grabbed his revolver, ran across an open field and captured German machine gun troops so his men could advance. McGee was killed eight days after his efforts. He was 29.

Bronze Anzac statue: Made in 1922 by self-taught sculptor Charles Web Gilbert, the bronze statue of an Anzac digger is a miniature of the memorial at Broken Hill. It is modelled on a real soldier and is said to be a trial for the Broken Hill structure.

It was given to the museum in 1934 by Sir John Ramsey and its bayonet was unscrewed and stolen while on display in 1940.


WHAT: The Great War 1914-1918: Sacrifice and Shadows.

WHEN: From August onwards.

WHERE: Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Inveresk. 

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