Our Anzac Legacy Gallery tells the fascinating story of the First World War in Queensland; the people and the things they held close – objects of war and warfare, and personal items belonging to those on the front line.
Here’s five objects you can see on display at the Anzac Legacy Gallery:
Mephisto is the sole surviving German A7V Sturmpanzerwagen tank in the world, and one of the rarest items in our collection. Named by its crew, this 30-tonne tank was part of an advance towards the French town of Amiens, resulting in the capture of Villers- Bretonneux and the temporary retreat of Allied forces. During the battle, Mephisto became stuck in a shell crater and was abandoned. It remained on the battlefield for months before troops of the 26th Battalion AIF, composed mainly of Queenslanders, regained lost ground and retrieved it, dragging the tank behind Australian lines under cover of darkness.
This bullet-damaged cigarette case is included in a collection of items owned by First World War veteran Edward Gilchrist Hope. Hope told his family that this cigarette case saved his life as it was in his breast pocket when he came under enemy fire, and it deflected a bullet that would have killed him. Other items that suffered bullet damage in Hope’s backpack are also on display. Explore more online.
Mourning Gown reproduction
As part of the exhibition, a reproduction of an early twentieth century Mourning Gown was made, following the techniques used by dressmakers at that time. The original suit was made for Mrs Christina Massey of Mayfield Road, Belmont, by Janet Walker, a popular Brisbane dressmaker during the nineteenth and early twentieth century. The mourning suit represents the stories of many women – mothers, sisters, daughters, and aunts – who lost loved ones during the First World War.
Read more about how the Mourning Gown was recreated.
Medal of Merit Cross
A superstitious digger anonymously donated this Medal of Merit to the museum in 1927 because he claimed in brought him back luck after he ‘souvenired it.’ Beliefs in superstition and fatalism were common amongst civilians and combatants alike during the 1914 – 1918 war. Explore more online.
The collection of souvenirs, including antiquities, by service personnel is a well-known phenomenon of the First World War. In 2021, the families of First World War servicemen Leonard Dimmick and John Lowe visited the gallery to see the antiquities they collected on display.
Visit the Anzac Legacy Gallery on Level 1 of Queensland Museum
Visit our Anzac Legacy Gallery exhibition today and see if you can spot all the objects listed in this blog. The medal is quite small, so be sure to ask our friendly staff if you get stuck. Share your visit with us on social media by tagging #AnzacQM #myqldmuseum.
Free entry. Queensland Museum is open daily from 9:30am – 4pm. Open Anzac Day from 1:30 pm. View more public holiday opening hours.