ANZAC Day 2021

ANZAC day is a time for reflection and a time for us to thank the generations of young men and women who served their country in the never ending series of conflicts that humans are destined to engage in .

We recently visited the National War Memorial in Canberra which houses an amazing museum dedicated to these conflicts. As you walk in through the front door you are confronted by a large landing boat that took the first diggers into the beaches at Gallipoli. No more than an oversized rowboat, the vessel offered no protection to the troops and the bullet holes that tore through the side of the boat leaves nothing to your imagination about how horrific that short ride from the warship would have been.
As you make your way through the exhibits, from WW1 to WW2, Korea, Vietnam and then into the modern era of Iraq and Afghanistan, the equation is always the same: young men and women, full of life, vitality and hope looking out at you from pictures that are fading with time.
A few years ago, I was one of hundreds of photographers from the AIPP ( Australian Institute of Professional Photography ) who worked together to try and photograph all the surviving World War 2 veterans. Over the course of about a year and a half we photographed nearly 6000 veterans from all around the country. The majority of these people were in their 90’s when we did this, and it was obvious that their experiences so many years ago had informed the trajectory of the rest of their lives.
During this process, I met a number of veterans who I  asked to be involved in my 20th year exhibition of my Faces of Launceston Project. Starting in 1995, I have photographed over five hundred people who call Launceston home, and to celebrate 20 years of the project I has honoured to have a major show at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. we asked each of the 100 people photographed for the exhibition for a short comment to go with their picture
I met Leo when I was at the RSL club on ANZAC day shooting for the reflections project. Dressed in his Polish army uniform, he had been invited to Australia by the Rats of Tobruk Association after the war.
Leo Minol.
Arrived in Australia at the invitation of the Rats of Tobruk after serving in the Polish Army
Worked at Hydro, Comalco and railway
Started as a street photographer- eventually running a photographic studio which was the first use colour film and colour processing
Another of the veterans that I met via the Reflections project who agreed to be photographed for my Faces of Launceston show, Max Saunders was a very young man when he was flying in a Lancaster bomber over Europe. At a time when the odds of returning from just one such sortie were not great, Max completed over 30 raids and received the Distinguished Flying Cross, but his achievements after the war is what he takes most delight in- a long marriage  to Merle, children and grand children and great grand children
Max Saunders
5 to 11 years- Glen Dhu School
11 to14 years Technical collage
14 to 18  years Warehouse work
18 to 21 years RAAF Australia and Europe
21+ years married to Merle
3 Children, 7 grand children
7 great grand children
Will never be as happy!
The book Faces of Launceston, the photography of Philip Kuruvita 20 years is full of great pictures and interesting stories of people from all walks of life in Launceston.
The book and prints from the exhibition are  available here:
Tasmanian Books
A Long Journey to Home