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Exploring the remarkable resilience, patriotism and imagination of children in wartime.

New exhibition ‘Toys, Tales & Tenacity: Childhood experiences of war’ is a testament to the enduring spirit of youth; honouring their contribution to morale, legacy and Australian culture.

Thursday, 27 July 2023 at 5:00 am
Courtesy of Museums Victoria


Part of the Shrine’s series exploring commemoration through the lens of popular culture, ‘Toys, Tales & Tenacity: Childhood experiences of war’ sheds light on the cultural contributions and enduring legacy of children during wartime, in Victoria and beyond. With more than 100 objects displayed, including children’s books, posters, toys, and uniform items, the exhibition is a testimony to the power of play as a symbol of resilience for children.

From cherished toy soldiers and adventure comics to immersive cadet training and captivating computer games, children have long engaged in battle-like activities that ignite their imagination and spirit. Through these games, stories, and activities, they navigate a world that may often seem senseless, finding meaning and understanding within the chaos.

The Shrine’s CEO, Dean Lee, says, 

“Australian children are watchful observers of war. Most live safe from its horrors yet do so in a world where war is ever present. Play helps them find sense in the nonsensical, explore their place in society, maintain control and sustain order when separated from loved ones. ‘Toys, Tales and Tenacity’ speaks to the child within each of us—evoking memories integral to our understanding of war’s undeclared cost.”

Like ‘Battleship’, the aim of the game is to sink your opponent’s ships

The objects displayed have either been passed down from their original owners, or collected by the Shrine as cultural talisman of their time. Visitors will be transported back in time, and experience how children’s playful pastimes were a window to understanding the times they were living in, adding to the legacy of culture and commemoration through the power of play and storytelling.

Toys, Tales & Tenacity explores the intertwined stories of war, childhood, and the enduring spirit of youth in the face of adversity, offering a unique perspective of the profound impact war has had on Australian


  • ‘Toys, Tales & Tenacity’ exhibition opens 11 August at the Shrine of Remembrance, for 12 months
  • Visit the website for more information
  • Whilst you’re there you can also visit the first exhibition in the Shrine’s popular culture series ‘Tours
    de Force’ until October 2023


Interview opps available with the curatorial team and other contributors leading up to exhibition opening.

For more information or to request an interview with Shrine representatives or spokespeople please
contact: Claire Teggin at Pitch on or 0481 572 136.

Images for media use are available here.