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Recent conflicts

See recent conflicts through the eyes of the servicemen and women themselves.

This exhibition features photographs, video footage and artefacts revealing the drama and tragedy as well as the humour and comradeship.

Discover the human stories behind the headlines and find out what it was really like to serve in Australia’s 21st-century wars. Stories include:

  • an Australian sorting through the wreckage of the World Trade Center.
  • a witness to a car bomb attack in Iraq
  • a young man wounded when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device, and the female medic who gave him first aid
  • a soldier fighting the Taliban in a remote valley of Aghanistan

Photographs and video footage taken by the servicemen and women themselves show the wars through their eyes - the drama and tragedy as well as the humour and comradeship.

The Recent Conflicts gallery was supported by the Victorian Government and the Victorian Veterans Council.

Feature story

Chris May receives first aid in Afghanistan and is evacuated 23 September 2011

In the Recent Conflicts gallery visitors can see Corporal Chris May’s helmet and uniform from Afghanistan.

The helmet is dented at the back, where Corporal May’s head was slammed against the roof of the Bushmaster vehicle he was travelling in as it hit an improvised explosive device (IED) on 23 September 2011.

The IED had been planted on a bridge that Corporal May’s unit had to cross while travelling into a remote area of Uruzgan Province to bring medical care to a sick local child.

He sustained serious head and back injuries and was evacuated by helicopter to a military hospital at Tarin Kowt, and then to Kanadahar and eventually back to Australia.

Corporal May’s road to recovery was long and hard, as the physical and mental effects of his wounds took years to overcome. His story is one of many of those who served in Afghanistan, and in recent years he has acted as an advocate for the support of young veterans of recent conflicts.

Reviewed 24 June 2020

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