‘“The Returned Soldiers bug”: making the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne’ in N. Saunders and P. Cornish, (eds.) Contested Objects: Material Memories of the First World War. (London, Routledge, 2009), pp. 144-162. ISBN 9780415450706
The book Contested Objects sought to break new ground in the interdisciplinary study of material culture. Its focus is on the rich and varied legacy of objects from the First World War as the global conflict that defined the twentieth century. From the iconic German steel helmet to practice trenches on Salisbury Plain, and from the ‘Dazzle Ship’ phenomenon through medal-wearing, diary-writing, trophy collecting, the market in war souvenirs and the evocative reworking of European objects by African soldiers, this book presents an array of hitherto unseen worlds of the Great War. The innovative and multidisciplinary approach embraced a truly international perspective. Australia, Africa, Italy, Germany, France, Belgium and Britain are all represented by a cross-disciplinary group of scholars working in archaeology, anthropology, cultural history, art history, museology, and cultural heritage. The result is a volume that illustrates how the experiences of war can be embodied in and represented by an endless variety of artefacts, whose ‘social lives’ have endured for almost a century and that continue to shape our perceptions of an increasingly dangerous world.
Moriarty’s contribution derives from research undertaken in Australia as part of a Menzies Centre Bicentennial Fellowship in 2005 and as the University of Melbourne Macgeorge Fellow in 2008. Her chapter explores how the identity of those involved in the construction of memorials played a significant part in their meaning and symbolic value. It follows the changing attitude to sculptor Paul Montford during the late 1920s as his Englishness became a cause of concern to key members of the commissioning authorities of the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne.
The chapter develops research conducted by Moriarty in preparation for the 2007 exhibition she curated at the Shrine and its accompanying essay.