$50,000 grant takes HMAS Sydney 3D imaging project forward

A $50,000 Lotterywest grant will help the Friends of the Western Australian Museum develop a project to bring the story of HMAS Sydney (II) and HSK Kormoran to a wider audience.

The Friends of the Museum – a not-for-profit group committed to promoting the development and advancement of the WA Museum – will work with the Museum, its partners and communities close to the event, to scope the potential for significant exhibitions to be created from a project to image the wrecks that is already underway.

Curtin University of Technology is working on a project that will, next year, capture high resolution, 3D stereoscopic images of the two wrecks, allowing them to be documented in much greater detail than ever before. The Museum and Curtin received a $483,248 Commonwealth Your Community Heritage grant earlier this year to carry out the work.

The Friends of the Museum aim to scope the possibility of creating significant exhibitions and on-line experiences using the results generated by the imaging project, working with communities who, either geographically or through family ties, have close links to the event. It is expected one of the exhibitions would be located at the WA Museum’s site in Geraldton.

Today’s presentation of the $50,000 cheque from Perth MLA Eleni Evangel, on behalf of Lotterywest, to the Friends of the Museum, will allow the potential of this follow-up project to be determined in the hope that people all over the world could gain permanent, virtual access to two of Australia’s most inaccessible, yet significant heritage sites.

Brian Davies, Chair of the Friends of the WA Museum, today thanked Lotterywest and Ms Evangel for their invaluable support.

“The potential to provide an experience which will enhance our understanding of the circumstances surrounding the loss of the HMAS Sydney (II) and HSK Kormoran will be invaluable to researchers, historians and surviving family members, as well as to the wider community,” Mr Davies said.

“Any interpretation of the sites would necessarily consider the impact on the families and friends of the many lost souls – remembering that the loss of the Sydney with all hands in 1941 is still, to this day, Australia’s greatest naval tragedy.”

Mr Davies said future interpretation would also look at the impact on the two nations and, for the first time, seek to engage the German side of the story, leading to a better and wider understanding of the significance of the two ships, the battle between them, the context in which it occurred and the human consequences.

Possible outcomes of the project could include permanent virtual exhibitions at the WA Museum’s Geraldton and Maritime sites, and at the new WA Museum being developed in the Perth Cultural Centre. A touring exhibition developed in partnership with other organisations is also being discussed, as is a significantly enhanced online presentation.

“This project has the potential to add enormous community value, to in effect create a gift to the nation, and it is our intention to bring this new knowledge to Australian and international audiences in ways that are sensitive, effective and enduring,” Mr Davies said.