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Australian troops on the way to the front line, Flanders, 1917. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial

Internationally touring WWI exhibition in Warrnambool

News Article Date: 
Monday, 28 November 2016

Warrnambool will play host to an international touring exhibition commemorating the sacrifices of Allied Forces during World War I – including the efforts of Australian soldiers.

The Belgians Have Not Forgotten, which has toured the United States and several European countries, will be staged at the Lighthouse Studio from December 9 to 23.

Warrnambool RSL member Doug Heazlewood said Warrnambool was selected as a host for the exhibition following a visit to the South West by the Belgian Ambassador, Jean-Luc Bodson, earlier this year.

Warrnambool will be one of only four Australian host cities, and the only one in Victoria.

“The exhibition was developed by the Belgian Government as an expression of gratitude of the Belgian people for the sacrifices made to free their country from occupation in 1914-18,” Mr Heazlewood said.

“The exhibition tells the story of campaigns in Flanders in which Australian soldiers took a conspicuous part, particularly in 1917 – culminating in the bloody Battle of Passchendaele.

“The Warrnambool RSL is keen to support this expression of thanks by providing links between district soldiers and families and the 1917 campaign in Flanders Fields.

“As part of the exhibition, a series of lunchtime talks will illuminate the stories of local soldiers who were part of the many battles which made up the campaign, as well as the experiences of their families.”

The exhibition will be officially opened on December 9 with a ceremony on the Civic Green to be attended by the Belgian Ambassador which will include the Salvation Army Band, the Warrnambool Pipe Band and flag bearers from the Scouts.

Twenty people in period military uniform will also take part, including six fully mounted light horsemen.

Admission to The Belgians Have Not Forgotten will be free.

The exhibition will be open from 9.30am to 4.30pm on Mondays and Wednesdays, 12.30pm to 4.30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 9.30am to 7.30pm on Fridays (except on December 9, when it opens at the conclusion of the official ceremony).

The Belgians Have Not Forgotten is presented by the Warrnambool Art Gallery, the Warrnambool City Council, the Lighthouse Theatre, the Warrnambool RSL, the Municipality of Zonnebeke, BE14-18, the Australian Government, the Kingdom of Belgium, the Memorial Museum Passchendaele and Visit Flanders.

12.30pm to 1.30pm lunchtime talks schedule

Presentation 1 - Mon 12 Dec & Mon 19 Dec - Sabrina Watt
The Letters of Andrew Watt - What Do I Tell Them – That They Might Understand?

Presentation 2 - Tue 13 Dec & Tue 20 Dec - David McGinness
Beneath Flanders Fields - Tunnelling Operations in the Ypres Sector

Presentation 3 - Wed 14 Dec & Wed 21 Dec - Steven Bloxham
The Battle of Polygon Wood - Battlefield Archaeology in Flanders

Presentation 4 - Thu 15 Dec & Thu 22 Dec - Doug Heazlewood
What Happened to This Young Boy - Once Lost, Now Found, Too Late?

Presentation 5 - Fri 16 Dec & Fri 23 Dec - Doug Heazlewood
Boys and Men – From Here to Flanders - Vignettes of Some Who Served

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