24 April 2009

remembering the fallen

Tomorrow is the One Day of the Year. And in the run up to Anzac Day, it is interesting to reflect on the representation of war memorials and war memorabilia in our workload at International Conservation Services.

This week, our conservators have been carrying out conservation treatments on:

The Cenotaph in Martin Place, Sydney, in preparation for the Dawn Service to be held there from 4.30am on Anzac Day

A selection of war diaries kept by naval personnel

Several naval ensigns

But in the course of the past year, we have also treated such disparate items as:

Japanese military swords acquired by a private individual at the time of the Japanese surrender in WWII

WWII anti-aircraft Bofors gun currently located in Redfern Park

A German WWI Minenwerfer trench mortar owned by a Queensland local government authority

And we have undertaken other projects associated with war memorials or military sites including:

  • Design, documentation, fabrication and installation of interpretive devices at Fort Scratchley in Newcastle, NSW

  • Condition and significance assessment of the Mothers’ Memorial in Toowoomba, Queensland, and recommendations for maintenance
  • Dismantling and re-erection of the Shore School War Memorial during redevelopment of the grandstand at their Northbridge playing fields
  • Conservation and reconstruction of the War Memorial in Redfern Park, Sydney
  • Design, fabrication and installation of an interpretive display of war memorabilia at the Cabra Vale Diggers Ex-Active Servicemens Club
  • Fabrication and placement of a plaque to commemorate the distinguished military service (including award of the Victoria Cross) of a prominent individual in the church he attended for many years
The nature of all of these items is that they have enormous personal significance to many individuals, as well as to our community as a whole. We get insights into this in the course of our work, as our clients, or other people associated with the locations we are working at, tell us stories about the objects or places we are working on. These stories are often touching, frequently tragic, and serve to remind us of the sacrifices that have been made for our country. They remind us of our good fortune to live in Australia.

It is immensely satisfying to contribute to perpetuating the memory of those Australians who have served in the armed forces over the past 100 years or more.

David West
International Conservation Services