THE Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience travelling exhibition officially opened in Ballarat on Sunday. Residents of the region are encouraged to visit this onceina-lifetime experience, which features more than 200 artefacts usually housed at the Australian War Memorial. “The travelling exhibition was embraced by audiences in its first three locations, with many people saying it was one of the best exhibitions they had ever seen,” Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC Stuart Robert said. Ballarat is the fourth of 23 locations the Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience will visit between September 2015 and April 2017, with the Ballarat Exhibition Centre hosting the experience from Sunday, 8 November to Saturday, 14 November 2015. The Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience includes a community zone that has been created in consultation with local organisations and will enable visitors to access some of the stories behind the 3,801 brave Ballarat servicemen and women who contributed to Australia’s First World War efforts.
“The Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience is the flagship community event of the Anzac Centenary national programme. It provides an opportunity for people in cities and regional Australia to mark the most significant commemorative period in our nation’s history,” Mr Robert said.
The travelling exhibition is intended to improve understanding of Australia’s wartime experience, its impacts and its lessons, to carry forward the Anzac spirit and values.
Part of the travelling exhibition includes the laying of a wreath in each town they visit to commemorate those who lost their lives in the First World War and acknowledge the local Anzac legacy.
At midday on Sunday wreaths were laid at the Ballarat Cenotaph by Major General Simone Wilkie AM, Senator Michael Ronaldson and City of Ballarat Mayor Cr John Phillips. Senator Ronaldson we have much to be proud of in regional/rural Victoria and regional/ rural Australia and the fact that the travelling exhibition is coming to Bendigo, Geelong and Ballarat is recognition of the very significant role that our local communities played.
“We are commemorating a century of service and sacrifice,” he said. “We have a lot to be proud of, a lot to remember – this is not about glorifying war but this is about commemorating that service and sacrifice and about making sure our kids never forget, that kids understand and kids see this as an educational spirit and will carry the torch of remembrance.” The Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience is a free event but bookings are essential as places are limited. For more information, including the tour itinerary, and to book tickets for individuals or groups visit www. spiritofanzac.gov.au.