Western Front tapestry now on display at Shrine of Remembrance

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield
Minister for Communications
Minister for the Arts
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate

The Hon Michael McCormack MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Deputy Leader of the House
Federal Member for Riverina

Senator Jane Hume
Senator for Victoria

THE Morning Star tapestry created to hang in the Sir John Monash Centre in France goes on display at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne today.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Michael McCormack said we must always remember the service and sacrifice of the men and women who serve in defence of our nation.

“The Morning Star tapestry commemorates those brave Australians who served on the battlefields of the First World War,” Mr McCormack said.

“Their stories and experiences are as important today as they were one hundred years ago and must be shared with future generations.

“It will be an outstanding feature of the new Sir John Monash Centre.”

Designed by Australian war artists Lyndell Brown and Charles Green and created by an extraordinary team of weavers, the Morning Star tapestry depicts winter dawn light illuminating a pathway through eucalypt trees and bush towards sunlight with inset images of young soldiers departing for war.

Arts Minister Mitch Fifield said the Morning Star tapestry was an outstanding work of art that showcases the Australian Tapestry Workshop as a world leader in contemporary tapestry creation.

“The work aims to evoke the experience of arriving at war, and in particular the Western Front. This significant contemporary artistic work took more than 4000 hours to weave and will promote Australia’s creative excellence and innovation on a world stage,” Minister Fifield said.

“The tapestry will provide a lasting legacy commemorating the 46,000 Australian lives lost in the battles of the Western Front in the First World War.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Shrine of Remembrance Dean Lee encouraged Victorians and all visitors alike to come to the Shrine to view the unique work of art in the wider context of commemorative spaces and extensive exhibitions about Australians in war and peacekeeping.

The Anzac Centenary Arts and Culture Fund which is part of the Australian Government’s Anzac Centenary program, provided $90,000 for the major work along with a number of private benefactors including the Tapestry Foundation of Australia, Australian Hotels Association, Marjorie M. Kingston Charitable Trust, Calvert-Jones Family, Anne and Mark Robertson OAM, Baillieu Myer AC and Sarah Myer, Yulgilbar Foundation, Chasam Foundation and the Myer Foundation.

Following the exhibition the tapestry will leave for France where it will be permanently displayed in the Sir John Monash Centre which opens in Villers-Bretonneux, France in April 2018.

The Sir John Monash Centre is the most significant legacy project of the Anzac Centenary Program and is designed to tell the Australian story of the Western Front battlefields of the First World War.

Senator Jane Hume said The Sir John Monash Centre will be an important part of giving much needed recognition to the Australian contribution on the Western Front.

“The Centre will assist the increasing number of Australian and international visitors to the battlefields of Europe in better understanding Australia’s contribution on the Western Front during the First World War,” Senator Hume said.

“The cutting edge multimedia Centre gives valuable insight into the Australian experience on the Western Front through a series of interactive media installations and immersive experiences.”

Entry to the Centre is free and bookings are strongly encouraged for peak periods around Anzac Day, the Centenary of the Battle of Hamel and Remembrance Day 2018.

The tapestry will be exhibited until Sunday 25 February. For more information visit the Sir John Monash Centre website.

Media contacts:

Minister Fifield – Geraldine Mitchell: 0407 280 476

Minister McCormack – Whil Prendergast: 0427 672 815

Senator Hume – Luke Bennett: 0404 126 324

DVA Media: 02 6289 6466

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.