WA to miss WWI photo  exhibition
Missing out: One of the photographs from the collection. Picture: Kerry Stokes Collection

Withdrawal of Federal funding has meant plans to bring to WA an acclaimed exhibition of photographs of World War I Diggers in France have been scrapped.

The Australian War Memorial exhibition, Remember Me, the Lost Diggers of Vignacourt, was to have been shown by the WA Museum in Albany, Geraldton, Perth and Kalgoorlie-Boulder next year and in 2016.

Many WWI Diggers visited Vignacourt, north-west of Paris, where French couple Louis and Antoinette Thuillier took their photographs to send home as souvenirs.

They were among almost 4000 glass negatives depicting Diggers, other soldiers and French civilians.

The negatives were found in the attic of the Thuilliers' farmhouse in 2011. More than 800 of the glass plates were bought by WA businessman Kerry Stokes for the AWM.

The memorial said it would wind down its "popular and successful travelling exhibitions program immediately due to budgetary cuts".

This included exhibitions such as the Lost Diggers (now in South Australia) and Ben Quilty: after Afghanistan, currently at John Curtin Gallery, Curtin University.

The AWM said the program had been delivered through supplementary funding of $800,000 a year from the Department of Veterans' Aff-airs. But after 17 years of co-sponsorship, the DVA had told the mem-orial last week that it would cease funding the program immediately.

Current exhibitions would return to the memorial after they concluded at their venues.

A spokesman for the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Michael Ronaldson, said the department had a requirement to fund measures to assist contemporary veterans and Centenary of Anzac commemorative events and so had decided to discontinue funding its share of the travelling exhibitions.

The Federal Government had increased funding to the AWM from $40 million to $47.8 million, he said.

The WA Museum said it understood the cancellation of the Lost Diggers exhibition was because of funding constraints but it was disappointing.

The West Australian

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