COMM12016 Citizen Blog 1 – The Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience at Mackay

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Figure 1: Poppy memorial wall Source: Australian Government 2016

On Thursday 28 July I was able to attend the Centenary Experience hosted at the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre. Tickets are pre-booked and free for everyone. The Experience is a travelling exhibition that started in September 2015 and is going through 23 major cities and regional towns, showcasing a collection of artefacts, short films and memorials devoted to the ANZAC soldiers who fought in World War 1 and other Australian soldiers (Australian Government 2016).

The ANZACs (The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) are a well renowned and admired element of Australian culture. Many Australians are proud of the legacy of the soldiers who fought during the first World War and Gallipoli is a popular tourist spot and memorial in remembrance of the infamous Gallipoli campaign (Donoghue & Trenter, 2015). The Centenary Experience take visitors through a timeline of Australia pre-World War 1 through to the present day, with sections dedicated to;

  • Pre World War Life

  • Recruitment

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    Figure 2: A map on the wall showing various country’s interactions Source: Australian Government 2016
  • Egypt and training

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    Figure 3: Camera showing a photograph of soldiers sitting on an Egyptian pyramid Source: Australian Government 2016
  • Gallipoli and trench warfare

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    Figure 4: Model of a soldier sitting on a battlefield Source: Australian Government 2016
  • Nurses and hospitals

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    Figure 5: A mannequin wearing an old nurse outfit Source: Australian Government 2016
  • Life at home

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    Figure 6: Text plate describing the Australian political division regarding conscription in the World War 1 Source: Australian Government 2016
  • Life and recovery after war

  • A touching memorial to fallen soldiers, with special attention to soldiers who were local to the region

  • Present day Australian soldiers and a timeline of Australian involvement in other conflicts

The Centenary Experience makes use of a variety of special effects and digital tools to enhance the tour and make it a memorable event. Each visitor is provided with a handheld touch device with headphones that plays narration and audio into the wearer’s ears.

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Figure 7: The re-purposed phone and headphones used on the tour Source: Australian Government 2016

Narrator and Voice Actors read scripts assigned to each section of the tour, changing as the visitor walks through the Experience.

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Figure 8: The devices playing audio narration Source: Australian Government 2016

In addition, there are many displays that have a small red button attached to them.

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Figure 9: A display with a red button Source: Australian Government 2016

Touching the device to one of these buttons will send an article of information related to the display to an email that the user specifies at the beginning of the tour, although I have yet to receive any emails.

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Figure 10: A device receiving an item from a button Source: Australian Government 2016

There are also lighting effects and projected film to create an interesting atmosphere for the tour. Preserved artefacts and documents are also on display for visitors to observe.

The Centenary Experience also made use of social media services for attendees to engage with the experience online. On the webservice Twitter, the hashtag #spiritofanzac is used by both the organisers and customers to share messages and photos. Twitter is a website where users can share short messsages and images and has come to be used in a wide variety of ways, particularly by organisations looking to promote their service (Bainbridge, Goc & Tynan 2015, p. 77).

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Figure 11: A poster for the Centenary Experience showing Facebook, Twitter and Instagram advertisements Source: Australian Government 2016

An ‘app’ is also in place for customers to use during and after the Experience. Apps are computer programs designed to run on mobile devices and are a fairly new concept in social networking (Bainbridge, Goc & Tynan 2015, p. 496)

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Figure 12: A poster advertising the Centenary Experience App Source: Australian Government

The Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience was one of the most fascinating and memorable tours I have ever attended thanks to the unique special effects, use of digital technology and impressive collection of artefacts.

References

Australian Government 2016, The spirit of Anzac centenary experience, viewed 27th July 2016, http://www.anzaccentenary.gov.au/events/spirit-anzac-centenary-experience

Bainbridge, J, Goc, N & Tynan, L 2015, Media and journalism New Approaches to theory and practice Third Edition, Oxford University Press, Melbourne

Donoghue, J, Tranter, B 2015, ‘The Anzacs: military influences on Australian identity’, Journal of Sociology, vol. 51, no. 3, pp. 449-463.

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