The Digger Image – Book launch and Illustrated talk by Donald Richardson


Book launch and illustrated talk by Donald Richardson accompanying an exhibition of photographs of the ‘digger’ on Australian war memorials.

The project, close to Donald’s heart, involved photographing war memorials in towns and cities all over Australia, and researching the stories behind their creation.

Creating Remembrance: The Art and Design of Australian War Memorials – ‘There are thousands of war memorials in Australia, ranging in size and importance from the Australian War Memorial in Canberra to plaques affixed to simple pieces of natural rock in the smallest communities, but hardly anyone knows who designed and made them. This is due to the fact that there was, and still is, a general understanding that only the names of those who had served or died should appear on these monuments. So, those whose creative work, it being constantly and prominently on view, has been almost entirely responsible for supplying and maintaining the community’s memory of the sacrifice and tragedy of war have never received their due recognition. This book is an attempt to redress this deficiency.’

Burra Regional Art Gallery, 2pm Sunday April 26

Tickets $5, available at the gallery.


The First World War memorial at Burra is a remarkable 12m high granite column on which stands a 2.4m high bronze figure of a digger in the ‘parry’ stance, modelled by a ‘Mr Willmett’, an Adelaide fibrous plaster manufacturer about whom no further information can be found.

According to the Burra Record, 10 March 1920, the organising committee did not want a ‘stiff, expressionless figure’ – i.e. an imported marble figure.

It was cast by the Adelaide bronze-casting firm AW Dobbie.

The column was designed gratis by architect Guy St. John Makin, and made and erected by the South Australian Monumental Works with great difficulty, due to its height. Costing the large sum of £3500, the memorial was unveiled by then Prime Minister of Australia, W.M Hughes, in 1922.

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