Historic find brings stories of lost diggers to Townsville

Date published: 22 February 2017

An incredible discovery in 2011 of 3000 glass-plate photographic negatives of World War I soldiers has been turned into an exhibition that will open at Pinnacles Gallery in Townsville on Saturday night.

Remember Me: The Lost Diggers of Vignacourt is a touring exhibition by the Australian War Memorial and will be on display at Pinnacles Gallery, Riverway until April 30.

During World War I, the small French town of Vignacourt was always behind the allied front lines.

It was used as a staging point, casualty clearing station and recreation area for the troops moving to and from the battlefields of the Somme. For them, it became a home away from home.

The negatives were discovered in the attic of a farmhouse in Vignacourt. They were informal photographs, taken by French couple Louis and Antoinette Thuillier, of allied soldiers, many of them Australian, during their time at Vignacourt.

Exhibition curator Vick Gwyn will host a floor talk before the launch on Saturday, for people to gain more insight into the works and the stories of the soldiers. The floor talk will commence at 5.30pm.

Also opening this weekend at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery is a colourful and provocative new exhibition from the National Portrait Gallery.

Awesome Achievers: Portrait Stories from Australians of the Year will open on Friday evening.

With an inspiring array of talent and achievement, this exhibition celebrates many examples of triumph over adversity.

Community and Cultural Development Committee member Cr Russ Cook said the two exhibitions immortalised the stories of the people depicted.

“We are very lucky to have these two amazing exhibitions opening at our galleries this weekend and I encourage residents and visitors to come along and learn about some amazing Australians – some lost, and some still living,” Cr Russ said.

Awesome Achievers: Portrait Stories from Australians of the Year will be on display at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery from February 24 to April 16.