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The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

MEDIA RELEASE

22 April 2018

Australian Government supports outstanding French sites

TWO of the sites on the Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front will be enhanced and preserved, ensuring the contribution of Australians in the First World War is never forgotten.

Ahead of the official opening of the Sir John Monash Centre, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester announced funding of €95,000 (around A$150,000) for projects in Vignacourt and Naours.

“The small French village of Vignacourt has become famously associated with the Thuillier Collection, a large collection of well-preserved glass plate negative photographs of Allied soldiers from the First World War which was discovered in 2011 after almost a century,” Mr Chester said.

“Following the discovery of the fantastic Thuillier Collection, which includes some 800 images of Australian soldiers, interest in Vignacourt’s part in the war is very high and that is why the Australian Government is providing €75,000 (around A$120,000) to complete new visitor facilities. This is in addition to the A$440,000 already contributed to Vignacourt as part of the Australian Remembrance Trail.

“The importance of this discovery and the work here to preserve the story of the Thuillier’s and their extraordinary collection cannot be overstated.”

The other site to receive funding is the Naours Caves, a three-kilometre long complex of tunnels which became a tourist attraction for soldiers in the area during the First World War.

“In 2015, more than 2000 individual inscriptions by Allied soldiers were found in the caves, of which more than 730 Australian names have been so far identified,” Mr Chester said.

“These inscriptions are a wonderful historical record and the Australian Government is proud to contribute €20,000 (A$30,000) to help secure, protect and preserve this important part of our history.

“This is a very special place, and we will work closely with the local authorities over the coming years to ensure a positive visitor experience at this key stop on the Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front.”

Further information on the Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front, including a Traveller’s Guide, can be accessed on the Sir John Monash Centre website.

ENDS

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Whil Prendergast: 0427 672 815
DVA Media: 02 6289 6466

Office of the Hon. Darren Chester MP, Canberra.

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.