RECOVERING THE PAST: This exhibition documents the consequences of World War 1 on Australian society.
RECOVERING THE PAST: This exhibition documents the consequences of World War 1 on Australian society. Contributed

Meandarra recovers the past with unique exhibition

PEERING into the eyes of soldiers long passed, you can't help but sense the weight of years stretching between you.

Now, in a stunning new exhibition, those black-and-white faces have been transported to the modern day.

Recovering the Past is a photographic exhibition by Ian Alderman, first displayed at the Palais des Nations in Geneva and also in the Flanders Fields Museum at Ypres.

It's on show now at the Meandarra ANZAC Memorial Museum.

Museum volunteer Pat McNamara said the exhibition had been travelling around Australia and the museum was incredibly fortunate to get the chance to be a part of its tour.

"It really is a powerful exhibition that explores the legacies of war long after the guns fall silent,” Mrs McNamara said.

The 25 images depict two groups of men, the first being members of Australian Imperial Force who fought in Flanders and in some of the worst battles of World War I.

The second group of men are modern Belgian personnel who operate ongoing bomb disposal efforts, collecting and destroying the millions of unexploded shells from World War I that remain in Flanders.

For Mrs McNamara, opening the exhibition pieces was an unforgettable experience.

"There's four big containers that they come out of and each one as we opened them up 'oh this is my favourite, oh this is my favourite',” she said.

"They are really amazing, you can just stand there and look at them and you see different things all the time, every time you look at one of the photos you see something you didn't see before.”

With a great-grandfather, father and a son who have served in the armed forces, Mrs McNamara has a special connection to the artwork.

"But I'm not the only one,” she said.

"A lot of people do, a lot of people did - they had grandfathers, great-grandfathers, a lot of them have uncles and fathers still in the armed forces.”

The exhibition is open for viewing, but the official opening is on July 19, the same day as the museum's 10th anniversary celebrations. Mrs McNamara said it had been fantastic to see the museum develop during the past decade, with so many volunteers getting involved in what has

become a key attraction for the town.

"It's a wonderful place for people to visit, very thought provoking.”

The museum is able to host the exhibition thanks to the Meandarra-Glenmorgan RSL sub-branch, which successfully applied to

the Department of

Veterans Affairs for sponsorship.

The official opening is Friday, July 19 from 1pm.