Friday, December 8, 2017

War and loss - a poem by bill purvis

My entry into the Anzac Centenary South Australia Reflections Competition.


War and loss

Uncle Claude,
I heard him say,
way back when? 1957.
the words hung there,
the battle fought in 1917,
a memory still vivid in the air,
of mud and stench,
the horror, the hell,
2017, I remember still,
the look the pain he carried  then.
A TPI, a shell  blast?
shrapnel in his back, close to his spine,
embedded, a memory chip,
a permanent reminder,
it remained until he died.
A century has passed and two generations.
War, the lasting  hell, of pain, anguish and loss.
The grandfather I never knew, died of stomach cancer,
I was told from mustard gas, inhaled on the battlefield.
A bombardier,  Royal  Artillery, in Stansbury Cemetery he lies,
died 1934, aged 45.
My father, a casualty too, I guess, I never really knew.
What did he go through?
He was distant, maybe he died a little,
on the battlefield, in WW2.

Author: bill purvis

Claude Summerton (left) convalescing from wound.

Claude Mavlan Summerton

Service Number
10th Australian Infantry Battalion
First World War, 1914-1918

Private Claude Mavlan Summerton
Service number
Final Rank
First World War, 1914-1918

First World War Nominal Roll:
10th Australian Infantry Battalion

First World War, 1914-1918


Date of enlistment
24 March 1915

Date returned to Australia
25 August 1917

July 31, 1917 - 3rd Battle of Ypres ( Battle of Passchendaele ) commences.
All 5 Australian Divisions were engaged in the Third Battle of Ypres that is sometimes known as the Battle of Passchendaele . During the period July - November 1917 the Australian victories included Menin Road, Polygon Wood and Broadseinde. For the first time all the Australian Divisions fought side by side at Broadseinde. The fighting lasted for eight weeks

Field Marshal Haigs' objectives were : to capture the Passchendaele to Gheluvelt ridge, capture the strategic railway which ran through Routers and throughout and finally capture the line from Courtrai to Zeebrugge.
The offensive began at 3.50am on July 31, 1917. The main attacks were delivered by three armies, the 2nd British on the right, the 5th British in the centre and the 1st French on the left after two weeks of artillery bombardment. In total there were 17 divisions ( including 2 French divisions ) along a 25 kilometre front. The 2nd British army included the Australian 3rd and New Zealand Divisions.
On the flats north of Ypres most of Gough's 2nd British and the French armies reached the second and third German trench lines. By the end of the first day there had been 500 losses but all captured German positions had been retained. At 4pm on July 31, 1917 heavy rains started and continued, turning the whole battlefield into a quagmire
The weather now made further attacks difficult because guns and ammunition transports became bogged, air observation due to low visibility was difficult. Artillery shells failed to explode in the soft mud, any exploding bursts were muffled and unspotted, there was no dust or smoke to cover advancing infantry. Much of the attacking infantry had difficulty detecting the barrages they were ordered to follow but their main problem was trying to keep up with it through the mud. As attacking efforts struggled spirits fell, while those of the German defenders rose.

Medical discharge certificate [PRG 1692/17] • Manuscript
Hospital hammock tag [PRG 1692/9] • Manuscript

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Gods Battleground

A photo folio presented in part for review at
BIFB 19th August 2017
and also as a solo exhibition
with accompanying text
at the Awards Night Adelaide Hockey Club
23 September 2017

Oh! and the Gods have a sense of humour

Friday, August 25, 2017

BIFB - Ballarat International Foto Biennale August 19 - September 17 - 2017

My passion is photography.
This is the second BIFB I have attended at Ballarat in country Victoria.
I feel at home at the Shady Acres Caravan Park on the outskirts of Ballarat,
near the Western Highway, and park and commute from there in my campervan.
Resident rabbits abound in the bottom paddock of the Park.

I lend my services to the BIFB as a volunteer gallery attendant.
The Director, Volunteer Co-Ordinator a few staff and volunteers work feverishly
to ensure the success of the  month long photographic exhibition.
Being rostered at four core exhibition venues for 1/2 a day each gave me
a good opportunity to view these exhibitions.
The draw card for this BIFB was undisputedly David La Chapelle.
BIFB - Core Exhibitions

The Vernissage, or opening event, the day after my arrival and in the same
venue where I was an attendant (for the exhibition TELL), was too
familiar and too slow, or maybe I was just tired.
Not knowing many people I opted out of staying.

The core exhibitions were very good although I did wonder about the integrity
of exhibiting copies of prints in the exhibition Reverie Revelry.
I do enjoy fashion as art and fashion photography.
Glenda and I had the pleasure of viewing 100 Years of Fashion Photography,
in Auckland a few years ago, from the collection of the V&A.
That exhibition was superb but we were then disappointed with a latter
exhibition, Icons of Fashion' heralded with much fanfare, at the
Art Gallery of South Australia.

I viewed some fringe exhibitions and particularly enjoyed 'SPOOK'.
If I can walk away with some photos of my own which capture
the sentiment this enhances my appreciation.
I found the venue for 'SPOOK' embellished it's appeal.

The open air exhibitions in Police Lane, Sturt Street, and on the wall of
Back Space Gallery were very good.

A core exhibition Self/Selfie was fun and patrons availed themselves of the
opportunity to be participants in the exhibition by using the photo-booth.
This exhibition also included works by Farrell and Parkin, Cindy Sherman
and Anne Zahalka and others.

Overall I enjoyed the BIFB and my participation.
Ballarat is an historic gold mining town with many fine old buildings
providing wonderful venues for exhibitions.

The opening day of the BIFB was also the occasion of the Port Power  and
Western Bulldogs AFL game at the local oval.
Decorated street planter boxes and the Ballarat Band greeting spectators
and rival supporters alike, added to the festivities.

Boiling water for a cuppa on the way to Ballarat

a stop near Dimboola

extraordinary lighting reflections and lens flare 

Home at Shady Acres Caravan Park

Ballarat Railway Station

Store front exhibition

Decked out with Bulldogs colours

Port Power supporters

Bulldogs supporters

Ballarat Band decked out in Bulldogs colours

Port Power hooters

Bunnies at Shady Acres Caravan Park

David LaChapelle Exhibition at the Ballarat Art Gallery

Police Lane Exhibition

Sturt Street

Ballarat Town Hall

Selfie with the great Archie Roach
photo credit: Archie Roach by Ferne Millen an entrant in
the Martin Kantor Portrait Prize.

Kantor Prize - some of the entries

Me Selfie reflection
Window displays Myer Sturt Street

On the footpath

Sturt Street

Core Venue - TELL exhibition and Vernissage

Core Venue - Trades Hall

I was surprised when a lady emerged from behind the curtains down these stairs.
The temporary offices of Gay Pride are at the rear of the stage.
The curtains although not red, reminded me of the current series of Twin Peaks.

Fringe Exhibit - SPOOK - at the Botanic Gardens

Botanic Gardens

Shady Acres Caravan Park

Core Venue - BackSpace Gallery

Core Venue - The Observatory

Sturt Street

Fringe Exhibit

Fringe Exhibit
Ballarat Post Office

Sturt Street Ballarat

The Grampians - scenic views on route back to Adelaide

The Pink Lake - a stop en-route
just received a thank you - thank you Fiona