Reflections – Honoring our World War 2 veterans

Source: Australian War Memorial

The Australian War Memorial has become the proud custodian of 6,500 contemporary photographic portraits of Second World War veterans; on the 72nd anniversary of the declaration of Victory in the Pacific.

The largest photographic project ever undertaken in Australia, Reflections – honouring our WWII veterans was the brainchild of the Australian Institute of Professional Photographers (AIPP), who worked with the Memorial and the Returned and Services League of Australia to achieve its ambitious objective.

It took two years and more than 450 professional photographers from across the country to produce the portrait collection. Reflections’ National Project Manager, Mr John de Rooy, said time was running out to capture this invaluable photographic record.

“Our aim was to produce a sensitive portrayal of these veterans’ elderly state, which will provide a cognisant comparison to wartime imagery of young men and women photographed at their most youthful and vibrant,” Mr de Rooy said.

The images will be projected in the Memorial’s Second World War Galleries for the appreciation of visitors. Once accessioned into the collection, they will be accessible to the public as part of the Memorial’s online collection.

Director Dr Brendan Nelson said the Memorial is the home for these photographs, as these are the images of the men and women whose stories are held and told here.

“Looking into the faces of this remarkable generation of Australians now leaving us, is an emotional experience. They mobilised to defend us when our vital interest were at stake and gave their youth and their all for us.”

“It has taken an extraordinary effort from the AIPP to assemble this vast archive. The Memorial was honoured to work with them and the RSL as part of this project. We commit to maintain and make accessible this unique and compelling collection for all Australians,” Dr Nelson said.

Veterans and their families and friends are encouraged to view the photographs in the Second World War Galleries of the Memorial. Further information about the project, including a listing of participants, can be found at: