Historian, Writer, Commentator, Consultant.

Rosemary and Wattle

Posted by on Jan 18, 2012 in Books | 0 comments

Rosemary and wattle coverRosemary and Wattle (Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1993)

On Remembrance Day 1993 the Unknown Australian Soldier was interred in the Australian War Memorial’s Hall of Memory. Though it was first suggested by Bill Gammage (not the least of his contributions to remembering Australia’s Great War), I was at first sceptical that the event would mean much to late-twentieth century Australia: how wrong I was. My part in the program attending the interment was to complete (and especially to write) the new exhibition gallery Echoes of the Guns (which I still think works as a way of grasping the aftermath of the Great War) and in writing a booklet on the Memorial’s commemorative area, which I wanted to call Rosemary and Wattle. (This was at a time in the Memorial’s history when relatively junior staff could be trusted to, for example, suggest titles for exhibitions and books – both Echoes of the Guns and Rosemary and Wattle were mine – later it would have involved a focus group, an options paper and the repeated deliberations of the places Corporate Management Group – before the Director decided for himself.) It was intended to replace the venerable ‘Hall of Memory’ booklet, but sought to explain the structure and symbolism of the entire commemorative area, from the Roll of Honour and Pool of Reflection to the Hall of Memory and the Tomb. I was particularly pleased that it reflected my examples of who the Memorial commemorated and why.

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