Lemnos Gallipoli Photographic Exhibition Comes Home

The Lemnian community of Victoria is proud to host an upcoming exhibition of photographs taken by soldiers, nurses and doctors during their stay in Lemnos, before, during and after the Battle of Gallipoli. These photos are an incredible link to Australian Anzac history and are rarely shown in public.

The Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial Committee (LGCC) very generously donated these photos to the Lemnian community of Victoria for permanent display at their Braeside facilities.

The official handover will take place on 25 April 2022 (Anzac Day) at the Lemnos Community of Victoria facility at 906 Springvale Rd, Braeside at 3 p.m.

The President of the Lemnian Community of Victoria, Phillip Diamataris, said: “The gesture offered to our community by the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial Committee is extremely humbling.”

“The photographs are a permanent mark in time capturing our brave soldiers and nurses as well as our Lemnian brothers and sisters going about their daily duties, under the cloud of the First World War,” Mr Diamataris continued.

“The honor of having these precious photos on permanent display in our facilities allows our members, as well as the wider community, to connect with history. A story that has linked Lemnos to Australia forever.

“We look forward to welcoming the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial Committee, federal and state politicians, local council representatives, members of our community and other guests to witness this momentous occasion on a very significant day for all Australians.”

LGCC committee member and historian Mr Jim Claven selected these photographs from the extensive archive of photographs taken by Anzac soldiers and other Allied photographers during the Gallipoli Campaign. They reveal Lemnos’ role in the Allied Dardanelles campaign with astonishing clarity.

Myrina Harbour, Lemnos 1915. Photographer Sergeant James Edmond McPhee. Collection of the State Library of Victoria.

The photographs are sourced from collections of war memorials and museums, libraries and universities across Australia and beyond. They include photographs taken by Australian photographers Sergeant Albert Savage, Major Laurence Herschel Harris and war correspondent Phillip Schuler, as well as British photographer Lieutenant Ernest Brookes detained in London, among others.

Mr Claven said this exhibition of high-resolution images from 1915 is a great opportunity for people to see firsthand the depth of the bond between Lemnos and the Anzacs.

“Ever since I first saw these rarely released images, I have been captivated by them and have been eager to bring them to the public’s attention,” Claven said.

He explained that photographs in the exhibit show the Anzacs arriving at Lemnos in their transport ships, its large port of Mudros filled with Allied ships preparing for war, troops practicing their landing techniques on the shores of Lemnos, the hospitals where the 130 Australian nurses cared for the sick in the countryside, as well as the local villagers, the large Anzac camp at Sarpi and the graves of the 148 Australians and 76 New Zealanders who rest there.

Mr Claven said one of the most fascinating aspects of the Lemnos Gallipoli photographic archive is the number of photographs revealing the interaction between local Lemnians and Anzac soldiers and nurses.

“There are lots of images of Anzac people visiting the local hora, sitting in the local kafenio, enjoying the natural hot springs at Therma, looking at the local churches and schools and the natural beauty of the island,” Ms. Claven.

“Some of the most touching are those of Australians with local families. These reveal the first real links between Australians and Greeks in Greece.

Mr. Claven has also produced an exhibition booklet explaining the role of Lemnos and the history of the photographs. The booklet will be provided to all participants as a souvenir of their attendance.

Committee Chairman Lee Tarlamis MP AO urged people to attend the exhibition.

“All who attend the exhibition will be amazed by the images on display and will leave better informed and grateful for the Australian presence on Lemnos 100 years ago,” said Mr Tarlamis.

Michael E. Marquez