Baillieu Library’s current exhibition ‘Somewhere in France: Australians on the Western Front’ is on show until 26 June 2016.
Our commemorative attention has been directed towards the Western front this year, now that the Gallipoli commemorative caravan has moved on. This exhibition is not, as you might expect, mired in the trenches but instead looks at life away from the front, as young soldiers, nurses and volunteers explored villages, attended theatre performances and encountered new food and culture. There’s a particularly chilling gas mask on display in one of the cases which reminds us that the front was always present, and the mention of listening to a gramophone while in the trenches highlights the paradox of a war fought along such a small ribbon of contested land.
The exhibition displays contemporary diaries and letters, photographs and ephemera drawn from the University’s collection of material donated by former students, most particularly Ray Jones and Alfred Rowden White. Current day students have researched the material and created two short video presentations based on the stories of Melbourne soldiers and Red Cross workers who ended up ‘Somewhere in France’.
For more information see here.