Exhibition design team X Squared Design has organised the gallery to echo the experiences of the men and women of NSW who have left our shores for war or peacekeeping activites and, indeed, the architecture of the original Memorial building.
A cohesive and legible design approach has produced the seamless integration of object, graphic, multimedia and interactive platforms. Digital technology through which the collection of testimony, original artefacts, documents and documentary footage is displayed and interpreted complements the static displays. The exhibition does not attempt to provide an encyclopaedic history of NSW at war. Rather, it is the stories of individuals – sailors, soldiers, medical personnel and airmen and airwomen – as case studies to put a human face to the experience of war or deployment on peacekeeping operations and allow the visitor to make an emotional connection to the exhibition content.
Treasures on display include a rare collection of historic swords, pistols, medals and other artefacts belonging to Australia’s first general, Sir Maurice O’Connell from the early 1800s; the hauntingly poignant medals and memorabilia kept by the family of 15-year-old Lance Corporal Jack Harris of Waverly in Sydney who was killed in action at the Battle of Lone Pine; a souvenir of the Red Baron in the form of a piece of fabric cut from the wreck of the Baron’s plane by 26-year-old Second Lieutenant Nigel Love of Kurrajong, NSW, a fighter pilot with No3 Squadron Australian Flying Corps on the Western Front in 1918; and the Distinguished Service Cross awarded to Sub-Lieutenant Bruce Harvey for sinking the only Japanese fleet submarine destroyed in Australian waters.
The design and content for the exhibition has been inspired by the Memorial’s buttress sculptures, which depict the wide-ranging military roles performed by Australians in the First World War. The replica statues were created using 3D printing by Studio Kite at its NSW north-coast workshop. The originals were digitally 3D scanned with the reproductions 3D printed in ABS plastic, the same material car bumper bars are commonly made from. The raw sculptures were then filled, sanded, sculpted and painted to achieve the required fine detail.
The exhibition provides an opportunity for an understanding of the original Memorial and its meaning to the community in NSW, explaining these roles and how the various functions have evolved to the current day to a new generation.