Wartime through the medic’s lens

Norman Lindsay's acting manager Gaye McKenna with one of Charles Ryan photographs, part of the War Memorial's exhibition at the gallery until September 15. Photo: Shane Desiatnik.

Norman Lindsay's acting manager Gaye McKenna with one of Charles Ryan photographs, part of the War Memorial's exhibition at the gallery until September 15. Photo: Shane Desiatnik.

A camera on Gallipoli, a series of photographs by medic Charles Ryan while he served with the Australian Imperial Forces in Turkey in 1915, is now on display at the Norman Lindsay Gallery in Faulconbridge.

Part of the Australian War Memorial's touring exhibition to commemorate the centenary of World War I, the 39 candid photographs from the noted Australian surgeon show some of the struggles behind the ill-fated 1915 Gallipoli campaign - everything from eating the tinned bully beef to getting regularly shot at while bathing in Anzac Cove.

Norman Lindsay's is the first of 30 regional locations to host the exhibition which officially opened last Thursday and acting manager Gaye McKenna said she couldn't be happier to have the "confronting" works visit.

"They really bring the war to life," Mrs McKenna said of the graphic reproductions which show, among others, the Turks and the Australians inspecting their dead on the battlefield. She said the exhibit was "important because of Norman's own connection".

Lindsay's war effort involved drawing striking Australian war propaganda to drive recruitment - following the death of his brother at the Somme.

The Australian War Memorial's acting manager for travelling exhibitions, Amanda Burrows, who is currently travelling with the exhibit, said even Lindsay's much loved children's classic The Magic Pudding had echoes of that war propaganda.

"Some say the pudding resembles his propaganda image of the German soldier," she said.

Some of Lindsay's war posters stand alongside the Charles photographs but the Faulconbridge gallery is also planning a larger exhibit for next April to coincide with Anzac Day. The War Memorial is also in the process of "reproducing Lindsay's originals [war posters] in large scale" for their World War I rooms next February, Miss Burrows said.

Meanwhile a digital version of Ryan's photographs is available to schools, libraries and other community groups to own and reproduce, with applications being accepted online through the War Memorial's website.

Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson said Ryan's photographs offered "real insight into the dry forbidding landscape, exhausted troops in trenches [and] squalid dugouts.

"Their mateship, stoicism and endurance underpin the photographs and embody the meaning of the Anzac spirit."

Visitors to the gallery will also learn about Charles Ryan's remarkable life. Ryan had served as a doctor with the Turkish army in 1877-78 and also treated infamous bushranger Ned Kelly after his final stand at Glenrowan.

A camera on Gallipoli is on display at the gallery until September 15. Free after gallery exhibition ($12 adults, $10 concession).

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