The horror of trudging through mud-filled, maggot-infested trenches while artillery shells scream overhead has been recreated in vivid detail for the Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience, which has been travelling across the country since September 2015 to great acclaim.
The Experience allows visitors to journey through the nation’s footsteps from 1901 to the First World War and beyond, via interactive environments and special effects to tell Australia’s story in a compelling and at times scarily realistic way while offering access to more than 200 historical artifacts from the Australian War Memorial.
Executive manager of the Australian War Memorial Major General Brian Dawson, AM, CSC (Retd) said since the tour began more than 300,000 have entered the exhibition.
“By the time the tour has finished the exhibition will have passed through 23 locations with stops in every state and the Northern Territory,” Major General Dawson said.
He said the response to the exhibition has been overwhelmingly positive.
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“By making it free and open during the school holidays where possible, I think we’ve made the exhibition as accessible as possible.
“Australians have a deep interest about what happened during the First World War and the history of the Australian Defence Force over the last 100 years, and bringing the stories and artifacts from the Australian War Memorial has really piqued their curiosity.”
He said when the exhibit was being designed and built over the course of a year all he could see was a set of slides and the plans. It wasn’t until the launch held at Wodonga in 2015 that he saw the completed project.
“It was overwhelming, the exhibition is very rich in technology which makes the stories we’re presenting from the last 100 years really come alive.”
Local historical and community groups are encouraged to contribute related historical artifacts to the exhibition when its in their town, which take pride of place at the entrance.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Dan Tehan said every Australian should visit the exhibition to give them an insight into what Australians experienced more than a century ago.
“It’s a fitting legacy for those who have defended and continue to protect our country from The First World War up to current conflicts,” he said.
The national tour will conclude when the exhibition arrives at the International Convention Centre in Sydney where it will be on display from April 15 to April 27, fittingly finishing just after Anzac Day.
To book for the free Spirit of Anzac exhibition before it finishes, visit www.spiritofanzac.gov.au