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Historic exhibition travels to Sorell

A HISTORICAL touring exhibition which features images captured by NSW government photographers during and immediately after the First World War is now on show at the Sorell RSL.

The ‘Windows into Wartime’ exhibition, which is supported by the Federal Government NETS scheme, depicts how communities across NSW worked together to support Australia’s war effort while our soldiers fought on the front lines.

The photographs illustrate local recruitment campaigns, the establishment of the Red Cross in NSW, the development of the infant health movement and the development of soldier re-settlement schemes.

Even in peace following the war, the Spanish Flu Pandemic brought fear and sadness to NSW in 1919.

Photographs of temporary influenza hospitals and isolation depots set up by the NSW Government illustrate the extraordinary lengths the Government took to contain the spread of the pandemic.

Exhibition curator Dr Penny Stannard said new digital technology had enabled the original glass plate images captured by these photographers to be brought to life 100 years later.

She said this allowed new generations to learn about this important part of our history.

“It provides us with the opportunity to re-discover and fully appreciate the technology of early 20th century photography and the role that it played in capturing our history,” she said.

South East Arts member and event organiser Saakia Itchins said this exhibition was a great opportunity to combine with the RSL, local history groups and other organisations in the area.

“This is the first time that NSW has sent this exhibition down to Tasmania and we thought it was a good chance to put an exhibition in a place like the RSL, which doesn’t happen very often,” she said.

“We had a great response at the exhibition opening, with more than 40 people in attendance and featuring guest speaker and military historian Doug Wyatt.”

A number of functions have been organised by community groups revolving around the exhibition, including the RSL, Sorell Lions Club and Sorell on Stage, which will be presenting songs written around the same era.

Gordon Jablonski, from Sorell RSL, said holding an exhibition like this at an RSL was not something he had seen before.

“I was supportive of it because I wanted to see what effect it had,” he said.

“And I think it has been very interesting and I know already that there is now talk about running something similar that is focused on Tasmanian history.”

Ms Itchins said the Sorell area was sadly lacking in exhibition spaces, which was something they would continue to lobby for into the future.

Caption: From left, Gordon Jablonski, from the Sorell RSL, with South East Arts members Lorraine Clarke, Saakia Itchins and Christopher Cowles.