In our Issue 13, we talked with Ross Coulthart of Channel 7 and the Australian War Memorial about the amazing collection of glass plate negatives that make up the Thuillier collection and show us the Lost Diggers of Vignacourt. For much of WWI, Vignacourt was a staging point, casualty clearing station and rest area for troops moving up to and then back from the battlefields on the Somme. Louis Thuillier took the opportunity of this passing traffic to take photos of the soldiers and make them into postcards, which the soldiers posted home. The Memorial’s exhibition, Remember Me: The Lost Diggers of Vignacourt, showcases a selection of the photos produced as handmade prints and tells the story of these men in their own voices. The exhibition finished at the Australian War Memorial on 31 July 2013 and is now scheduled to tour Australia.
Can you help the teens of Maison Des Australiens get to Australia and make a documentary about the Lost Diggers of Vignacourt and their descendants here in Australia? They have worked very hard competing for and winning funding grants, selling badges, postcards and portraits taken in the Thuillier farm courtyard. However they are short of their target for flights and other costs. The team is coming to Australia in 2014.
What is Association Maison des Australiens? The House of Australians Association, as it translates, is an accredited nonprofit organisation dedicated to the completion of a series of youth living history projects, currently a Vignacourt Youth Embassy to Australia to meet the families of soldiers identified in the Thuillier photographs and make a documentary.
Click to view a trailer for their “(HI)STORY TELLERS” documentary. The group of 8 teens and 2 adults (Lucile Lucile Werkin and a videographer) will interview descendants of Thuillier portrait Diggers in Perth, Canberra and Sydney, attend Remembrance Day commemorations and visit the Australian War Memorial and other relevant resources. Homestay accommodation for the Perth leg will soon be completed courtesy of the RSL.
Images in this exhibition are courtesy of the Kerry Stokes Collection, The Louis and Antoinette Thuillier Collection. Principal Sponsor Seven Network.