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The Australian War Memorial

A century on from the vision

Steve Gower

The Australian War Memorial
In this book, Steve Gower, the highly successful director of the Australian War Memorial from 1996 to 2012, gives a comprehensive account of the development of the Memorial from its inception just over a century ago.

Official permission was given in 1917 for the collection of war relics for display in a proposed museum in Australia. It would honour and commemorate all those who had served, especially those who had lost their lives, and help Australians to understand what they had experienced. Essentially the vision of one man, official war correspondent Charles Bean, supported by the head of the Australian War Records Section, John Treloar and others, it led to the opening in 1941 of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, now a 'must-visit' place for Australians and overseas visitors.

The book recounts the many challenges in establishing the Memorial and then in developing further its galleries and displays, the extensive collection, associated events and the overall supporting facilities. The Australian War Memorial: A century on from the vision also goes behind the scenes to provide insights into the many facets of a major, modern cultural institution.

Praise for The Australian War Memorial
'I think you’ve achieved what you set out to do — and more. The book reads well and certainly fills the void in histories of the AWM. It would be enormously helpful to the present-day staff and council, not to mention a host of bureaucrats and outsiders, because it has a true sense of historical perspectives. It tells how the AWM developed and grew, if in stops and starts. It also explains, as no other book has, how the place works and the delicate art of museum practice. The final chapter, especially the stuff on Anzac Day, is outstanding. The tome thought the book is just right: you tell the story but you don’t look away when you see humbug. The criticisms come over as constructive and your praise for others in generous.’ - Les Carlyon

'Above all, what emerges from this book is the obvious pleasure Gower derived from his role, whether he was greeting visiting dignitaries, wrangling politicians, presiding over solemn ceremonial, scrambling up scaffolding to view restoration work or poring over plans for new galleries and buildings, and the privilege he felt in exercising the "temporary stewardship … of this great and uniquely Australian institution". ‘ - Derek Abbott, Honest History

Steve Gower was Director of the Australian War Memorial between 1996 and 2012. He is a Duntroon graduate and Vietnam veteran who gained an Honours degree in Engineering from the University of Adelaide, followed by a Masters degree by research.

He spent 37 years in the Australian Army, attaining the rank of major general before resigning to become the ninth Director of the Australian War Memorial, a position he held for over 16 years. During that time Steve Gower was Chair of the Council of Australian Museum Directors and on the Museum Management Committee of the International Council of Museums. Active in tourism related to the Memorial, he was a chair of the Canberra Convention Bureau and a board member of the Canberra Tourism Corporation.

Steve Gower’s last book, Rounds Complete, recounted his experiences as an artillery forward observer in the Vietnam War.
Format Hardback
Size 234 x 156 mm
ISBN 9781743056165
Extent 440 pages
Price: AU$59.95 including GST
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