After undergoing a renovation costing up to $32 million, the newly renovated WWI Galleries of the Australian War Memorial reopens today, December 1.
It can be remembered that the Australian War Memorial WWI galleries closed down two years ago to undergo major renovation in time for the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War. And it looks like the renovation did do good as historic memorabilia, unseen for quite a long span of time, are returning on display together with other newly acquired items straight from the First World War.
These new items include a howitzer measuring 4.5 inches, the uniform and medals of General Sir John Monash and a Bullecourt tank which is one of the only two German tanks from the WWI-era left in the world.
The exhibits of the newly opened Australian War Memorial WWI galleries will also feature remains from the Pheasant Wood mass grave, the site being subjected to excavations way back in 2010. This was the area where Australian and British soldiers killed during the Battle of Fromelles in 1916 were interred.
The dioramas of the WWI battlefields will also be returning in the Australian War Memorial WWI galleries. These dioramas are several tableau depicting WWI battles carefully constructed and made from plaster, newspaper, horse hair and chicken wire constructed over timber frames with figure cast soldiers made from pewter and lead with each soldier exclusive to its particular diorama.
Though these dioramas date back to the 1920s, they have proven to be popular to visitors of the Australian War Memorial in spite of the advent of modern interactive technology.
The restoration of the WWI galleries in the Australian War Memorial was a careful and painstaking process involving the doing away of forty years’ worth of accumulated grime and dust in the displays. The renovation is the primary capital work done by the Australian War Memorial in light of the 100th-year anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War in where 330,000 Australians were shipped off overseas to serve with about 62,000 dying.