Victoria Cross Exhibitions

Finding Balance
Hall of Valour, Canberra, Australia

“In the hall the small crosses that mean so much lie under the stories of those who earned them.”

Ben Lisson, ABC News

Not silver, not gold. No fine enamels, nor precious gems, a simple cross of bronze suspended from a crimson ribbon.  On the cross pattee a crowned lion atop a crown with a scroll beneath, its banner lettered with the sans-serif words, “FOR VALOUR”.

The award held in high esteem is reported upon and showered with attention, in contrast to many of its recipients who are humbled by the recognition that the award brings. These acts of valour live on forever through the many keepers of our history who will research, study; write articles, lecture and debate about them.

However, it is the public portrayal of the Victoria Cross when exhibited in our museums and wherever the crosses may be held that is of interest to us today. Although I have not had the chance to visit the Hall of Valour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, the words of Richard Johnson (Project Designer) is insightful as to the thought dedicated to the new space, opened in 2010.

“For us I think the challenge was how do we get that balance between, you know, the monumental, the symbolic and the personal.”

Richard Johnson / Project Designer / Hall of Valour, Australian War Memorial

About The Author

Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was captivated by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Over time Paul became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography, narration and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was inspired when he learned Weir visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. "Gallipoli", the film, led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii, Gallipoli, North Macedonia and Salonika. When Paul first watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests was a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, Paul believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.


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