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
Egypt and training
Gallipoli and trench warfare
Nurses and hospitals
Life at home
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.
Narrator and Voice Actors read scripts assigned to each section of the tour, changing as the visitor walks through the Experience.
In addition, there are many displays that have a small red button attached to them.
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.
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).
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)
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.
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.