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Anzac Sight Sound website marks Versailles centenary


27 June 2019


New film and sound recordings have been added to the Anzac Sight Sound website (anzacsightsound.org) to coincide with the centenary of the Treaty of Versailles this week (28 June), contributing to the final phase of World War One commemorations.

The new material covers the post-war period from the demobilisation of New Zealand and Australian troops, to the dedication of war memorials in France and Belgium and the return to normal life for former soldiers. Amongst new content from both sides of the Tasman, the New Zealand additions include:

• Return of the Māori Pioneer contingent, the only New Zealand unit to return together as a whole group; the film shows the men about to disembark, and the spectacular welcome haka performed at the Auckland Domain (film)

• New Zealand troops at the Palace of Versailles shortly after the end of the war (film)

• Unveiling of the New Zealand Memorials at Messines Ridge and
‘s Graventafel in Belgium in 1924 (film)

• Soldiers recollecting their feelings about the prohibition of alcohol referendum and six o’clock closing on their return to New Zealand (sound)

• A Wellington schoolboy’s memories of an unexpectedly emotional address by General Freyberg in 1921 (sound).

Anzac Sight Sound now forms a comprehensive audiovisual history of the New Zealand and Australian experience of World War One. A five-year project between Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision and the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, the site contains more than 250 unique film and sound recordings ranging from the pre-war arms race to the ongoing post-war commemorations of Anzac Day. Footage of Anzac Day parades in 1919, 1921 and 1929 are among the latest film uploads.

Many of the pieces of film showcased on the website were themselves repatriated to New Zealand and Australia from European archives in the course of the project. These include several Pathé newsreel films such as a digital copy of Paris Leave Club, which shows a group of New Zealand, Australian and American soldiers touring the sights of Paris in the company of some female nurses, probably not long after the Armistice in early 1919.

While the latest uploads constitute the last material to be added to the site, Anzac Sight Sound will remain as an invaluable resource for educators, researchers, historians and the general public, documenting the totality of wartime experience both at the battle fronts and at home.

A short video trailer of material from across the Anzac Sight Sound collection can be seen at: https://vimeo.com/ngataonga/review/342887427/a928ac181d


ends

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