Photography: Australian War Memorial
Mufti VOL. 59 No. 2 June 2019
A national register aimed at collecting photographs of war memorials around Australia has been launched and the Australian War Memorial needs your help!
Officially launched at Parliament House, Canberra, in November 2018, the Places of Pride website is the National Register of War Memorials that will record the locations and images of every publicly accessible memorial in Australia, from cenotaphs, honour boards, and church shrines to memorial halls, pools, bowling clubs and tree-lined remembrance ways.
Photographs uploaded onto the integrative online register will form the basis of a stunning new display in the proposed expanded galleries of the Australian War Memorial.
At the launch in November, Australian War Memorial Director, Dr Brendan Nelson AO, commented on the importance of registering and recognising the nations local war memorials.
“Our responsibility now is to build a national archive, a photographic repository, of all of those places that were conceived and built with love and memory at the end of the First World War.
"Through Places of Pride we aim to connect all Australians, united by pride and loss, with each of these memorials from the Boer War through to Afghanistan."
Dr Brendan Nelson AO
“These repositories of love, loss and ennobled memory will be proudly scrolled across a giant electronic screen. In doing so, Australians will be reminded of the integral link between the national memorial and its tentacles reaching out to every community across the nation.
“Visitors will be able to log in the name of their town, whether Devonport, Gympie, St Kilda, Parramatta or Albany and see their memorial come to life.
Whether by families, friends, or local communities, war memorials have been erected across Australia since the Boer War, honouring those who have served and those who were lost, allowing the nation and its communities to reflect and remember, and families a place to grieve.
By developing this online initiative, the Memorial continues that community pride, encouraging the public to add images, videos, and information relating to these memorials, to be shared in perpetuity.
Every Australian is invited to participate by contributing images of their community’s memorials.
“This is a challenge to every RSL, Local Government Authority, schools, community groups and local MPs to get a photograph taken and upload it,” Dr Nelson said.
“The more the better. In time, we hope to have a large digital wall display in the Memorial’s galleries where visitors will be able to view and interact with memorials from any one of the myriad of communities that make up the fabric of this nation – all connected by memory, grief, and love.”
Places of Pride will remind Australians that, irrespective of distance, the stories told at the Australian War Memorial are those of our communities across the length and breadth of the country.
“Through Places of Pride we aim to connect all Australians, united by pride and loss, with each of these memorials from the Boer War through to Afghanistan,” Dr Nelson said.
According to Places of Pride Project Manager, Terri-Anne Simmonds, public response to the project has been remarkable.
"We have had a tremendous response from across Australia to the project, which shows a desire from people across the country for a national register of war memorials."
“Since launching, we have had 671 people sign up to contribute to the website and so far, we have over six and a half thousand war memorials on the website. We expect the number of war memorials that exist in Australia may be double this number though, which is why we are calling on members of the community to upload their local war memorials to the Places of Pride map.”
Terri-Anne says that through the many varied memorials have already been uploaded to the national register, it is easy to see the pride that community’s have in their own memorials.
“It has been fascinating to see the variety of memorials across Australia” says Terri-Anne. “Among them we have seen beautifully tended memorials gardens, towering statues, obelisks, and commemorative walks.
"Every memorial is moving in its own way because you recognise the meaning each has to the community they reside in, and that every name on those memorials is another human being who has given their service. This is one of the reasons I find honour boards so special—their simplicity allows for reflection on the names which appear."