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Deakin’s digitally-focused memorial

The Warrnambool War Memorial was unveiled last Tuesday in a ceremony with the Royal Australian Navy’s Senior Naval Officer Victoria Commodore Greg Yorke CSC RANR. However, there’s something new about the community project delivered by Deakin University, the local Returned and Services League, the Warrnambool City Council and Moyne Shire Council.

It is a tech-savvy War Memorial.

Deakin University has invested more than AUD 190 000 to provide an interactive touchscreen digitised service records and video projections. The project was supported by the research of Deakin student intern, Tina Horsfall. Earlier this year, Horsfall was awarded the John Laffin Prize from the Families and Friends of the First Australian Imperial Force for her work studying returned WWI soldiers.

Thus far, the community is taking well to the project. Deakin Warrnambool Campus Director Alistair McCosh said the memorial project had strengthened ties between the University and the Warrnambool community.

“The Deakin team has built a great relationship with the war memorial project team, and we’re hoping our digital expertise will enable the Warrnambool War Memorial to have that digital ‘wow’ factor,” Mr McCosh said.

“Showcases of the digital elements of the memorial have so far been met with excitement and have certainly exceeded the expectations of the RSL and Council members, and we can’t wait to share the final results with the local community.”

Service records of Warrnambool and Moyne service personnel will be featured using the memorial’s interactive touchscreen application. This will provide visitors with access to rich information about veterans and the conflicts they served in.

“The Warrnambool RSL and a team of researchers have curated a wide range of photographs and film footage for visitors to interact with,” he said.

“This will provide a great educational resource, particularly for the students who are expected to be among the many visitors to the memorial.”

Duncan Stalker OAM, Project Coordinator and RSL committee member, said, “For the Warrnambool and Moyne communities, the new memorial is expected to become a major tourist attraction and educational resource due to its one-of-a-kind architectural design, the dusk film show and the interactive elements.”

“Most importantly, the memorial will serve as a special place of remembrance and reflection, where we can commemorate those from the Warrnambool community who served Australia in defence of our freedom.”

Warrnambool Mayor Tony Herbert said the memorial was a wonderful tribute to the local people who served in Australia’s defence forces.

“The way in which the memorial honours and remembers our service personnel is extremely innovative,” Cr Herbert said.

“This is a memorial for the 21st century – interactive, accessible and it helps us feel better connected to those who answered a call to serve our nation.

“Congratulations to all those involved with the project, in particular the RSL committee, Deakin University and the skilled tradespeople and technicians who have made the memorial a reality.”

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