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The Hon Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
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9 December 2016

Belgium First World War exhibition tours Australia

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said Belgium authorities were funding a travelling exhibition of WWI artefacts as a sign of their deep appreciation of the service and sacrifice of Australian soldiers.

The Belgians Have Not Forgotten exhibition features wartime artefacts, photographs, maps and film footage from the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 in Zonnebeke, Belgium and is supported by the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917, the Zonnebeke Council, the Flemish Government and the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium in Australia.

The Australian Government has provided a grant to transport the exhibition to regional areas, including Launceston, Warrnambool, Dubbo and Hervey Bay.

Mr Tehan said “Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917” was part of the Australian Remembrance Trail on the Western Front and the Australian Government had helped fund the museum’s recent extension.

“The title of the exhibition reflects the deep appreciation and gratitude of Belgium for the sacrifice Australians made during the First World War,” Mr Tehan said.

“The Flanders Offensive cost Australia some 38,000 casualties. Those who fought and died in these battles are remembered nightly by the sounding of the Last Post under the arches of the Menin Gate at Ypres.

“In September 2017, Australia, with the assistance of Belgian authorities, will honour the service and sacrifice of those who fought in the Third Battle of Ypres with a Dawn Service on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Polygon Wood. This service will commemorate the centenary of the 1917 battles in this region, and will be held at Buttes New British Cemetery at Polygon Wood.

“The ceremony will again highlight the close relationship between the people of Belgium and Australia. The oversight of the Belgian Federal Government at a time when many countries are commemorating the Third Battle of Ypres is very much appreciated.

“The Belgian touring exhibition and the 2017 planned anniversary at Polygon Wood, demonstrate that both nations will never forget the soldiers who fought so far from home.”

The Belgians Have Not Forgotten exhibition will visit:

  • Warrnambool, Lighthouse Theatre, 12 December to 23 December 2016
  • Dubbo, Western Plains Cultural Centre, 16 January to 7 February 2017
  • Hervey Bay, Hervey Bay RSL Sub Branch, 20 February to 8 March 2017

Media enquiries:

Minister Tehan’s Office: Byron Vale, 0428 262 894
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.