Saturday, 22 April 2017

Spirit of the ANZACs Tour - The Centenary of ANZACs Quilt

This morning my husband and I made a visit to the Spirit of the ANZACs Tour.  The display itself is really well done, very thought provoking and emotional as so many people have told me.   

Both these passages resonated with me.

Like everyone else, I was looking forward to seeing the Centenary of ANZAC Quilt. I have received a lot of feed back since the exhibition opened in Sydney regarding the poor placement of the quilt but even so I was not quite prepared for the disappointing location it is displayed in.

This is the response that one of our quilters received when she sent an email to the Spirit of the ANZACs management complaining about the poor positioning of the quilt. 

"The Centenary Quilt is placed on the wall of the Century of Service component of the Experience. While this has worked well in the past 22 locations unfortunately with the layout of the Sydney Venue it is not as obvious as it has been elsewhere. We have increased the lighting in the area and briefed our volunteers on its position to assist attendees."

The first thing that struck me when I saw the quilt was how dimly its location was lit. If the lighting has been increased it must have been very poor beforehand. 

I took some photos so that I can better explain the quilt's location to anyone who is interested in finding it whilst the exhibition is still running.  If you look at the photo below you will see the quilt on the wall.  The lighted area on your right is the last part of the exhibition.  Once you finish looking at the last exhibits you hand your audio set to the attendees waiting for you. At that point you have to know to turn 180 degrees around to find the quilt. There is nothing to tell you to look for it. The sign posted with it is well written and informative but it is a shame it has not been placed somewhere to draw you in.

In contrast as you leave the exhibition this bright and well lit area draws you forward, away from the quilt.  This is a huge area with plenty of room for the quilt to be hung on the wall and I cannot for the life of me imagine why it has been hung where it is.

It is not only the quilters who are disappointed and dissatisfied with the quilt's location. Every service person I spoke to assured me that they had also felt the location was disappointing and inappropriate. This has been raised with the management on a number of occasions however the quilt cannot be moved without the permission and supervision of the Australian War Memorial staff and perhaps that would incur a cost. 

As stated in the above email response, and as supported by feedback from quilters around the country, the quilt has been displayed much more appropriately in the other 22 locations. It is just a shame that the Sydney location is so disappointing.

Once this exhibition is closed the quilt will go back to the Australian War Memorial in perpetuity.  I have no idea when, or if, it will be on display again.  Hopefully when the Afghanistan display is reconfigured there might be room for it.  

The value of this quilt however is much more than seeing it on display.  Rear Admiral Trevor Jones AM CSC requested this quilt in order to ensure that the quilts and laundry bags created by Aussie Hero Quilts (and Laundry Bags) are forever a part of Australia's military history and held in the Australian War Memorial.  

This quilt is the ONLY quilt that has ever toured the Middle East Region, going to Afghanistan, flying over Iraq, being photo graphed in a Hornet and a C17 and even completing a mission on HMAS Success just to name some of the adventures it went on.  The quilt was made the commemorate those that have gone before, those that made the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country but just as importantly, it also was made to honour our currently serving troops. 

It was a privilege to be asked to make it and in the end, what really matters is that the troops know why we made it and who we made it for. 

Till next time..... keep spreading the word and happy stitching!
Jan-Maree xx

1 comment:

  1. I can see your disappointment and I felt your disappointment and I know its no consolation but the Anzac Quilt has been touched & signed by many in the Middle East (and might I add...with Love, Compassion & a Proudness of its existance).
    To all who come across the Anzac Quilt, its touched their Hearts in a way that something like this could never do anywhere else. And that is something that can NEVER be replaced.
    I agree with your comments about the location in seemed to be 'tucked away' from other Exhibitions. But All who have seen the Quilt,signed the Quilt, touched the Quilt are honoured to know that it was YOU who founded Aussie Hero Quilts (& Laundry Bags), it is YOU who continues this 'History' & YOU that gives 100's of Quilters who sew for Aussie Hero Quilts, the Passion, Inspiration & Love to make Quilts & Laundry Bags to the Serving Members who need them.
    You do something that no-one else does.
    You give them HOPE. You give them LOVE. And you give them the COMPASSION they feel when they need it the most.
    YOU are Aussie Hero Quilts JM & we, the sewers & quilters are YOUR Soldiers & give us also the chance to FEEL what you do about this Awesome Organisation.We know how you feel about this but you should also know how we feel about YOUR Organisation.
    I, for one am proud I am an Aussie Hero Quilter for Jan-Maree Ball OAM.