The Memorial acquires the O'Connell collection

5 September 2017

An important and rare collection of historic swords, pistols and medals belonging to Australia’s first general Maurice O’Connell has been acquired by the Memorial Trustees with support from the NSW Government. The collection will be on public display in the completed Anzac Memorial which will serve to enhance its status as a place of solemn reflection, learning and remembrance.

The collection of artefacts span the duration of Sir O’Connell’s distinguished career. One of the swords was awarded to O’Connell by the international maritime insurer, Lloyd’s of London, in 1805. He wore this sword when he led the 73rd Regiment into Sydney Cove to take over from the mutinous NSW Corps. The other is the very first Australian General Officer’s Sword. The medals include O’Connell’s knighthood neck decoration and breast badge.

"The O’Connell collection is of the greatest significance to NSW and Australia’s colonial history highlighting our strong military heritage," said David Elliott, the Minister for Veterans Affairs. "And with few objects surviving from the earliest decades of European settlement in Australia, each of them must be considered a national treasure.

The Anzac Memorial is a highly appropriate venue for the exhibition of the O’Connell collection.  O’Connell used Hyde Park as a venue to exercise and drill the 73rd Regiment. The acquisition will go on permanent display at the Anzac Memorial upon the completion of the Centenary Project build in late 2018.

Watch and listen to the Memorial's Senior Curator and Historian, Brad Manera expalin the significance of objects within the O'Connell collection

 

 

 

 

 

On this day

On this day
16 February

1942— BANKA ISLAND MASSACRE. Following the sinking of the SS Vyner Brook, many of the survivors, including 22 Australian nurses, reached the shore of Banka Island. Realising that their position was desperate, an officer from the ship set out with most of the women and children to surrender the group to the Japanese. The officer returned with 20 Japanese soldiers who ordered all the men capable of walking to move to hidden part of the beach and killed them. They then returned to the beach and ordered the 22 nurses and 1 British civilian woman to walk into the water. They were machine-gunned in the back. All the immobile survivors were then killed. Sister Vivian Bullwinkle pretended to be dead and was the only survivor