Australian War Memorial expands 3D collection of online treasures

Robert Keeley 29 October 2021
Australian War Memorial's 3D Treasures online display on smartphone

The Australian War Memorial has expanded its digital 3D exhibition and is available for smartphones. Photo: Australian War Memorial.

The Australian War Memorial has expanded its digital 3D exhibition of historically important objects.

You can now check out 25 extra 3D illustrations of important historical objects as part of the 3D Treasures online exhibition on the Australian War Memorial’s website.

The exhibition has been expanded to include the extra three-dimensional scans of objects from the national collection. It offers an interactive online display which has been available to website visitors since October 2020.

Alongside each three-dimensional digital illustration – which can be rotated via a cursor – is a short piece telling the story behind the object. There are now 50 objects featured as digital work on the Australian War Memorial website.

One of the new items featured in the 3D exhibition is the microphone used by ABC journalist Sally Sara during her work in Afghanistan in 2011. While based in Kabul, and lacking studio facilities, she recorded voiceover pieces in her room using the mic while she covered her head with a quilt to deaden outside noises.

Sally Sara's microphone as part of 3D Treasures online display

Sally Sara’s microphone which covered terrorist attacks and political unrest in Afghanistan. Image: Australian War Memorial.

“This online exhibition gives visitors to the memorial’s website the unique opportunity to view these important items from every angle, and at a level of detail that’s almost impossible to achieve in person,” said Australian War Memorial director Matt Anderson.

“Engaging with our audience has never been more important. This 3D technology gives viewers a chance to look at these objects which they wouldn’t normally see in great detail. Teaming that technology with information on the story behind the item also adds much to the experience.”


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The Australian War Memorial digital display has allowed visitors to check out some of the highlights of the memorial remotely, which has been especially useful to people during COVID-19 lockdown.

“Access to the online exhibition ensures that no matter where you are in Australia, or the world, you’ll always have access to some of the most cherished items in the memorial’s collection, even when the galleries are closed or items aren’t on display,” said Mr Anderson.

German messenger dog gas mark as part of 3D Treasures online display

German messenger dog gas mark. Photo: Australian War Memorial.

Other items visitors can examine include a dog harness which belonged to Kuga the Belgian Malinois, who served with the Special Air Service Regiment in Afghanistan.

In August 2011, Kuga and his handler were part of a mission targeting a senior Taliban commander near Khas Uruzgan.

Kuga was shot five times when he attempted to grab an insurgent, and received a broken leg during the incident. He was treated for the injuries, but unfortunately died on 24 July, 2012.

Dog harness as part of 3D Treasures online display

Harness belonging to Kuga the Belgian Malinois, who served with the Special Air Service Regiment in Afghanistan. Image: Australian War Memorial.

Also viewable is news cameraman Neil Davis’s 16mm movie camera, which he used to film some of the final incidents of the Vietnam War, including when North Vietnamese tanks broke through the gates of the South Vietnamese Presidential Palace in the capital, Saigon, during its fall in 1975.

Davis died in Bangkok, Thailand, on 9 September, 1985, while filming a coup attempt. He was killed by shrapnel from an exploding tank shell.


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Another item on display is the ‘Agro’ mascot doll from the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Darwin’s deployment in the Middle East during the lead up to the 2003 Iraq war.

Apparently ‘Agro’ and a Foster’s Lager beer mat had pride of place on the instrument panel of the ship’s S-70B Seahawk during operations, which involved boarding and searching vessels departing the region. The vessel patrolled the approaches to the Khawr Abd Allah estuary, protecting Coalition vessels in Kuwait’s waters.

The Australian War Memorial’s 3D Treasures exhibition is online now and can be viewed here.


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