Arrivals & Departures Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience opens

Photo of Malcolm Quekett

Capturing the destruction and sheer despair of war, the huge undertaking that is the Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience has arrived in Perth.

In the past few years there have been numerous events and commemorations around the centenary of World War I.

But even those who have attended many of those events will find something new in an exhibition which has just opened in Perth.

The Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience has opened at the Perth Convention Centre.

Australia’s flagship community event of the Anzac centenary, the free exhibition is the biggest travelling exhibition since the 1988 Bicentennial exhibition.

It took 11 months to design and build, covers as much area as three basketball courts, features rare and fascinating century-old World War I artefacts as well as historic footage and state-of-the-art technology.

It hits the key elements of the WWI story while also allowing those with a deeper interest to delve further as it moves from pre-war Australia through the conflict, which is put in context by timelines and audio guides that include readings of first-hand descriptions and chilling battle sounds.

There are 200 artefacts from the Australian War Memorial, including weapons, personal items and others which are illustrative of the ferocity of the fighting, such as a corrugated iron trench cover from Gallipoli, shredded by shrapnel and gunshot.

Then there are the cutting-edge elements such as the simulated Western Front battle scenes that come alive as you move a screen over them.

And the artistic depictions such as the Man in the Mud installation, which captures the destruction and sheer despair of that theatre of war.

The exhibition ends with a contemplation gallery, where visitors can leave messages.

Booking for the exhibition is advised. By November 29 about 25,000 bookings had already been made for the Perth showing.

The exhibition is at the Perth convention centre until December 11; Bunbury from January 11 to 16 and Kalgoorlie from January 30 to February 5. Visit spiritofanzac.gov.au.

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