Join Jeff Maynard as he discusses his book The Unseen Anzac and how he followed a trail of myth and misinformation to reveal the remarkable, true story of Australia’s greatest war photographer.
Cameras were banned at the Western Front when the Anzacs arrived in 1916, prompting correspondent Charles Bean to argue for Australia to have a dedicated photographer. He was eventually assigned an enigmatic polar explorer — George Hubert Wilkins. Within weeks of arriving at the front, Wilkins’ exploits were legendary. He led soldiers into battle, captured German prisoners, was wounded repeatedly, and was twice awarded the Military Cross — all while he refused to carry a gun and armed himself only with a bulky glass-plate camera
Wilkins ultimately produced the most detailed and accurate collection of World War I photographs in the world, which is now held at the Australian War Memorial. After the war, Wilkins returned to exploring and, during the next 40 years, his life became shrouded in secrecy. His work at the Western Front was forgotten, and others claimed credit for his photographs.
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Port Phillip Library Service