Fifty Australians. An exhibition at the Australian War Memorial
It all began, when I had an E-Mail from Amanda Rebbeck, Curatorial Assistant Photographs, at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. It indicated that an exhibition covering 50 Australians who had both seen war in WW2 and its effects, was to be mounted at the AWM, and was to be launched on the 18th. of August 2005. One of the chosen 50, was Commander Warwick Bracegirdle DSC ** RAN, I had served with Braces in HMAS Shropshire, could the piece on him include a photograph from my AHOY web site? (See "Gentlemen Cordite, the Gunnery Stories of Commander Warwick Bracegirdle, DSC ** RAN")
My answer to Amanda was of course YES. I was asked if I could provide another photograph of Warwick in uniform, and I suggested that his son Nicholas in England might well be able to fill that void, and passed on his E-Mail address to the AWM, as Nicolas and I correspond from time to time. I also informed Amanda, that Rear Admiral Sir Leighton Bracegirdle, a former Official Secretary to His Excellency the Governor General of Australia was the Father of Warwick, and naturally the Grandfather of Nicolas.
Nicolas Bracegirdle and Chris Johnston in front of the
Commander Warwick Bracegirdle DSC** RAN, exhibit,
No. 3 entry in this 50 AUSTRALIANS EXHIBITION
Invitations to attend the Launch by Andrew Denton.
As a result of my limited involvement, both my wife Denise, and I were invited to attend the launching of this exhibition, Andrew Denton, the Australian Broadcasting Commission's TV Host of their programme Enough Rope, being invited to set this exhibition on its way. Nicolas was invited, and decided to make the journey from Bath in England to Canberra, so he might be present at the launch of this exhibition where his late Father, Warwick Bracegirdle would be amongst the 50 Australians so honoured.
Chris Johnston, a friend of mine from Sydney is also the Grandson of one of Brace's crack Gunnery team in Shropshire ( Nutty Ferris ) he also keeps in touch with Nicolas in England, and went on to make the flight arrangements for his visit to Australia. Chris was also invited to the launch evening.
Nicolas Bracegirdle, Andrew Denton, TV Presenter of the programme " Enough Rope " who launched this exhibition,
myself (Mac), Chris Johnston, grandson of one of BRACES crack gunners, Gunners Mate, Nutty Ferris
Denise and I flew into Canberra from Melbourne on Wednesday, the day before the launch, hired a car at the airport, and drove to the Kingston Apartments where we had a two bed apartment for three days. The exhibition was mounted in the War Memorial Courtyard Gallery, and we visited it on the morning of the opening to ensure we would find the venue in the dark. Come 1800 ( 6 PM ) we parked the car, and arrived to be amongst some 200 or so guests invited to this event. Nicolas and Chris found us both, and at 1840 ( 6.40 PM ) Andrew Denton, the presenter of TV programme, Enough Rope, stepped up to the microphone after a witty introduction by the Acting Curator.
In sending this magnificent Exhibition down the slipway, Andrew entertained his audience with a wonderful speech, both informative, and moving, as he covered some of the 50 nominees that make up those selected. He gave Nicolas a special mention for coming all the way from England to be present, we had a photograph taken with Andrew later.
The 50 Australians are all mounted superbly, and I have little doubt it will prove to be popular with the visiting public.
Sir Leighton's Sword and Medals, and Warwick's Medals on display.
The sword and medals of Nicolas' Grandfather, Rear Admiral Sir Leighton Bracegirdle, and his Father Commander Warwick Bracegirdle's Medals have been loaned by him to the Australian War Memorial, and they are beautifully cased and presented in the Research Section here. This area was obviously closed when the launch party came to an end, but an officer from the AWM staff generously offered to conduct us to the Research Section so that Nicolas, Chris, Denise and myself might view this Sword and Medal display, which we all thoroughly enjoyed.
Nicolas Bracegirdle, Denise and myself inspect the display of Nicolas' Grandfather, Rear Admiral Sir Leighton Bracegirdle's sword and medals, and his Father, Commander Bracegirdle's Medals in the Research Centre of the Australian War Memorial, on the evening of Thursday the 18th.of August 2005, at the Launch of the 50 AUSTRALIANS exhibition.
A celebratory Dinner.
After the evening at the Courtyard Gallery had come to an end, we were all invited to dinner by Nicolas, to reminise about the war time exploits of HMAS Shropshire, and of course to remember his late Dad , the incredible and one off Braces. We all thoroughly enjoyed dinner at Civic, thank you Nicolas.
Enjoy the 50 AUSTRALIANS Web Site. Visit the AWM Web Site to view this Exhibition.
Our invitation to the Launch of the 50 AUSTRALIANS exhibition by Andrew Denton