Bravest of the Brave

HEROIC: The Bravest of the Brave exhibit at the Whyalla Maritime Museum.
HEROIC: The Bravest of the Brave exhibit at the Whyalla Maritime Museum.

The Whyalla Maritime Museum is proudly hosting one of the most significant displays of South Australian history.

The History Trust/Veterans SA’s travelling exhibition "Bravest of the Brave" is now open for viewing, seven days a week, until the end of October.

The display (right) tells the story of eight South Australian men who were awarded the Victoria Cross for their heroic deeds during the First World War (1914-18).

Some were born or educated in South Australia. some enlisted here, while others lived here either before or after the war.  

It is personal story of eight ordinary men who on one day of their lives, under extraordinary circumstances, demonstrated extraordinary heroism for their comrades and country.

Bravest of the Brave consists of seven doubled-sided pop-up banners displaying text and photographs and four wooden crates which act as plinths to display the framed citations and replica medals belonging to the eight men. 

The exhibition gives an introduction to the First World War and South Australia’s part in the conflict, originally known as the Great War fought in Europe from 1914-1918; a brief history of the Victoria Cross, a short profile of each of the eight men and a final concluding section. 

The Victoria Cross is the British and Commonwealth’s armed forces’ most coveted award, their supreme decoration for gallantry, under enemy fire. Only 1356 medals have been awarded since its introduction in 1856. 

The eight men were Arthur Blackburn, Phillip Davey, Roy Inwood, Jørgen Jensen, John Leak, Arthur Sullivan, Lawrence Weathers and James Park Woods.  They came from all walks of life, both from the city and from the country.

Among them, there was a lawyer and a banker used to office work in civvy street as well as a former miner, teamster and vigneron more accustomed to getting their hands dirty.  

Although it serves to commemorate their bravery and sacrifice, Bravest of the Brave nevertheless attempts to also show how the war affected these men for the rest of their lives.

The Whyalla Maritime Museum is open 7 days a week including weekends and public holidays from 10am – 4pm with an entry fee.