Veterans Heritage Project
 

Coinciding with the centenary of the First World War (1914 – 1918), the inaugural Veterans Heritage Project brings ex-service organisations together with museum professionals in order to help protect, preserve, and increase access to Victoria’s war heritage.

In commemoration, this website looks back on a century of service by Victorians through a selection of 100 items catalogued and made digitally available to the public during the project.

These objects and oral histories represent hundreds of hours of behind the scenes work by their dedicated custodians and form an enduring digital memorial to our veterans.

 

Melbourne legacy

Violin



REGISTRATION No:

0023

DescriPtion:

This violin was played by Roy Arnel as a member of the AIF Concert Party in the Changi prisoner-of-war (POW) camp, Singapore, between 1942 and 1945. Fellow POWs scratched their names into the surface of the instrument including English author and cartoonist, Ronald Searle, Australian entertainer, Frank Rich, and Australian Author, Russell Braddon.

DATE:

27 Feb 2018

SIZE:

H21 x W27.5 x D13 cm



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DANDENONg/cranbourne RSL

AIF FOOTBALL



REGISTRATION No:

0507

DescriPtion:

This ball was possibly made by Corporal C. McMullen during WWI. McMullen made footballs for the AIF, including the original ball for the 1916 Australian Rules exhibition match in London. This object speaks to the early evolution of Australian Rules Football and the importance of sport to the armed forces. 

DATE:

c.1915-19

SIZE:

H17cm x W32cm x D22cm



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ringwood RSL

trench art



REGISTRATION No:

00057

DescriPtion:

Trench Art refers to any object made from the by-products of warfare. Often crafted from debris and scrap metal, trench art can reveal the attitudes, behaviours, or kinds of material available to its maker. The handle of this letter opener was made from a discharged 303 bullet.

DATE:

1941

SIZE:

H17.2 x W1.5 cm



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ballarat ranger military museum

oral history


 Image showing a quote by George Prolongeu. "When we got to Sydney, there were big busses there with plaques on them - AIF men returning home victorious. It's a wonderful experience, really.

Interviewee:

George Prolongeu

Interviewer:

Danny Williams

DESCRIPTION:

In this oral history excerpt, George Prolongeu recalls the moment he learnt of Japan’s surrender, allowing him to return home and bringing an end to six years of conflict and hardship.

Date:

13 Feb 2018

DOWNLOAD TRANSCRIPT



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ringwood RSL

nurse's Cape



REGISTRATION No:

00042

DescriPtion:

The participation of women in the First World War is known largely through the work of the Australian Army Nursing Service. However, more than 1,000 civilian nurses were also involved in active service through private organisations such as the Red Cross. These nurses worked in Europe, India and the Middle East in hospitals, on ships, trains or even closer to the front in casualty stations. They were easily identified by their iconic red capes, similar to this item.

DATE:

Unknown.

SIZE:

Unknown.



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Lara RSL

Entrenching tool



REGISTRATION No:

0642

DescriPtion:

During WWI, every member of the AIF was issued with an entrenching tool. More than simply digging tools, they were also used as weapons in hand-to-hand combat. This tool belonged to Lara local, Robert Errol Hilliard of the 1st/21st Battalion. 

DATE:

c.1914-18

SIZE:

H28 x W30 x D13 cm



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ringwood RSL

Photograph



REGISTRATION No:

00189

DescriPtion:

During the Second World War, the British Home Guard was made up of over 1.5 million people, ineligible for military service. Despite resistance and little broad recognition, women were permitted involvement as the war progressed.

DATE:

c.1939 - 1945

SIZE:

Unknown.



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wonthaggi RSL

oral history


 Image showing a quote by Trevor Scott. "As soon as I walked in, she burst into tears. Is he gone? Is he gone? Talking about my older brother, Vern. I said, 'No, he's coming home."

Interviewee:

Trevor Scott

Interviewer:

Mark Stevenson

DESCRIPTION:

In this oral history except, Trevor Scott tells a personal yet common story that is shared by the families of servicemen and women worldwide – reflecting on how wartime not only affected those who served, but also their loved ones whom they left behind.

Date:

19 Jul 2017

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wangaratta RSL

Italian flag



REGISTRATION No:

0312

DescriPtion:

This flag was captured by soldiers from Wangaratta in the 2/24th Battalion at the Battle of El Alamein on 9 July, 1942. Recognising the cultural and historical significance of the flag to both Italy and Australia, the Wangaratta RSL received grant money to have the flag professionally restored and framed in 2017.

DATE:

Unknown

SIZE:

160.5 x 103.5 cm



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DANDENONG/CRANBOURNE RSL

Rations



REGISTRATION No:

0076

DescriPtion:

With no access to warm meals or the comforts of home, soldiers in the field have long relied on ration packs to sustain their bodies and their spirits. This was the most common ration pack distributed during the Vietnam War - the Australian Combat Ration.

DATE:

c.1970s

SIZE:

Various



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ringwood RSL

photograph



REGISTRATION No:

00152

DescriPtion:

This photograph shows aircraft nose art on an American bomber in the Pacific Theatre. The commissioning of nose art began as an unofficial practice that was not subject to usual routes of military approval. The depiction of 'pin up' women during the Second World War was as a means of pushing back against the rigidity and constraint of military life.

DATE:

c.1939 - 1945

SIZE:

H11 x W8 cm



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wangaratta RSL

letter



REGISTRATION No:

336.1

DescriPtion:

This condolence letter from King George VI was received by the Emery family of Wangaratta, Victoria. Flying Officer William Emery lost his life serving with 460 Squadron RAAF over Belgium on 15 June, 1943.

DATE:

1943

SIZE:

H19 x W12 cm



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wangaratta RSL

emboidered postcard



REGISTRATION No:

207.8

DescriPtion:

Embroidered silk postcards became a booming industry during the First World War that was largely driven by women. Many French women embroidered strips of silk in their homes before sending them to a factory to be mounted on card by a largely female production line. Designs endorsing patriotism and unity were popular amongst Allied troops.

DATE:

1918

SIZE:

H10 x W13.5 cm



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frankston RSL

oral history


 Image showing a quote by Patrick McMahon. "He said, 'Do you know how much a bomber costs?' I said, 'Haven't a clue. I'm 20."

Interviewee:

Patrick McMahon

Interviewer:

Pat Overend

DESCRIPTION:

Patrick McMahon was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. He began his military service in Rhodesia which was then under British rule and served in Africa, Ceylon, India and Burma. In this interview he reflects on trying to get into the air force.

Date:

1 Mar 2017

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wangaratta RSL

MAGAZINE



REGISTRATION No:

191.4

TITLE:

The War Papers, Part 50

DescriPtion:

This British publication was a lift-out of the Daily Chronicle and belongs to a 90-part series that chronicled the allies progress in the Second World War, right up until Victory Day in 1946. 

DATE:

8 April 1945

SIZE:

H58 x W42 cm



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ringwood RSL

Jacket service dress



REGISTRATION No:

0050

DescriPtion:

This uniform, known as the 'jacket service dress' was issued to infantrymen serving in WWI and worn with khaki cord breeches. Most dress uniforms like this one were manufactured my the Commonwealth Clothing Factory in Melbourne.

DATE:

1942

SIZE:

34



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wangaratta rsl

oral history


 Image showing a quote by Lieutenant General Ash Power. "If I'm happy to deploy them, then I want to look after them."

Interviewee:

Ash Power AO, CSC

Interviewer:

Teagen Broussard

DESCRIPTION:

Ash Power is a retired senior officer of the Australian Army and a veteran of Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor and Bougainville. Between 2011 and 2014, Power notably served as Chief of Joint Operations. In this oral history extract, Power reflects on what the RSL means to him and the resounding collective mission of ex-service organisations.

Date:

21 Mar 2018

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ringwood RSL

Pith hat



REGISTRATION No:

00062

DescriPtion:

Pith helmets are often associated with 19th century European 'explorers' or in a military context, colonial commanding officers. This helmet was made in approximately 1912, and the provenance has not been recorded but it is most likely a souvenir.

DATE:

c.1912

SIZE:

H21 x W27.5 x D13 cm



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DANDENONG/CRANBOURNE RSL

NEWSPAPER



REGISTRATION No:

0505

DescriPtion:

This issue of the Sun News Pictorial was read by Victorians the morning after the unconditional surrender of Germany to the Allies on May 7, 1945, bringing an end to European conflict in the Second World War.

DATE:

May 8, 1945.

SIZE:

H40 x W28 cm



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ringwood RSL

letter



REGISTRATION No:

00100

DescriPtion:

This letter was sent by Private Aubrey Neil, home from Gallipoli during the First World War. The letter is written on the leg of a pair of trousers, suggesting that resources were limited. Aubrey survived Gallipoli and saw out the duration of the war at the Front before returning home in 1919.

DATE:

1915

SIZE:

H41 x W20 cm



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dandenong/cranbourne rsl

Japanese bayonet



REGISTRATION No:

0037

DescriPtion:

Type 30 bayonets were designed for the Japanese Imperial Army to be used in conjunction with rifles. With more than 7 million produced between 1897 and 1945, they became a popular wartime souvenir.

DATE:

c.1940s

SIZE:

H3 x W10 x D53 cm



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combined tramways/east melbourne RSL

oral history


 Image showing a quote by Alex Vanstan. "Because, you know, I've known nothing else. I came straight out of school."

Interviewee:

Alex Vanstan

Interviewer:

Don Hughes

DESCRIPTION:

Alex Vanstan is a young veteran who served in Afghanistan and became a Captain. In his oral history he reflects upon the challenges of returning to civilian life.

Date:

20 Sep 2017

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DANDENONG/CRANBOURNE RSL

SIGNAL Lamp



REGISTRATION No:

0020

DescriPtion:

This German signal lamp was souvenired by Frank Minotti on the fall of Tobruk in 1941. He was wounded and hospitalised and his Batman kept this until Frank's return to unit. A photo of Frank's girlfriend still remains inside the case.

DATE:

c.1939-45

SIZE:

H21.5 x W11 x D13 cm



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lara RSL

Sweetheart badges



REGISTRATION No:

0392

DescriPtion:

Sweetheart badges were momentos given to loved ones by troops departing for foreign shores. Originally regimental badges worn close to the heart, they represent a close connection to a particular armed force. Jewellers soon picked up on the commercial possibilities and they were manufactured widely during the First and Second World Wars.

DATE:

1944

SIZE:

H4 x W4 cm each



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wangaratta RSL

Honour board



REGISTRATION No:

38

DescriPtion:

Thousands of honour boards were made to commemorate soldiers who served in the First World War. The number of honour boards crafted reflects the immense loss felt in communities and families and the importance for them of remembering those who served and died. This is the Wangaratta and District Victory Roll, including the names of nurses and AIF personnel from the region.

DATE:

Unknown

SIZE:

H154 x W203 cm



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