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Virtual tour 16 - Australia 1917

Australia, a British dominion, formed the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) with the New Zealanders. The ANZACs were first deployed in Gallipoli (Turkey) in 1915, where unfortunately they were slaughtered. They took the lead during the second phase of the Battle of Passchendaele, from September to October 1917. The ANZACs achieved many of their goals thanks to a new step-by-step approach with limited, yet targeted, attacks. The Australians fought at the Menin Road, took Polygon Wood and even Tyne Cot. But, nevertheless the attacks took their toll and by September 1917, the Australians had suffered approximately 11,000 casualties (dead, missing and injured).

Object 1: Death Plaques

Brothers Theo Leslie, George Ross and William Keith Seabrook decided to volunteer for service in 1916. On 20 September 1917 their unit took part in the Battle of the Menin Road. Even before William could reach the front line, he was seriously wounded by shellfire and died of his injuries the following day. Theo and George do reached the front line, but both fell that very same day during an attack. Despite receiving these death plaques of all three of her children, the boys’ mother kept believing until her death in 1929 that George was still alive and well, but had only lost his memory. (Office of Australian War Graves)

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Object 2: Slouch hat

The "slouch hat" is typically Australian. One side is folded up so that a soldier could carry a gun on or over his shoulder without the brim of the hat hindering. On the edge you can see the "Rising Sun", the badge of the Australian army. To be less noticeable during combat, the badge was usually made dull. (MMP1917, MZ 00724)

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Object 3: Emu feather

This feather comes from the largest Australian bird species, the emu. Emu feathers are a symbol of the Australian Light Horse, Australian mounted elite troops that attached them to their headgear.(MMP1917, MZ 03200)emu