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Special viewing of “Beneath Hill 60″

Special Mining Mud & Medals event on Sunday the 27th of April.poster

At 2 pm in the afternoon a special movie presentation of the WW1 Tunnellers Movie “Beneath Hill 60″.


Come and hear Executive producer Ross Thomas, discuss the making of his movie ‘Beneath Hill 60′,

then stay and enjoy a special viewing on the ‘big screen’.

Venue: Regent Cinemas, next door to Jackson’s & Co.


And in the morning:
Three excellent WW1 military specialists appearing on one morning session 9:15am to 12:30pm at Jackson’s & Co. Ballarat CBD:
1) Damien Finlayson, military historian and author of the definitive historical reference on Australian Tunnelling Corps on the Western Front (Crumps & Camouflets).

2) Tim Whitford, former Education Outreach Officer at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance. One of the key people involved in uncovering the burial site of missing servicemen at Fromelles, France in 2008-09.

3) Ross Thomas, mining engineer & exec producer of the Australian WW1 movie ‘Beneath Hill 60′. In this session Ross will tell the real story of the Real Great Escape, the first mass escape of WW1 prisoners who tunnelled out of Holzminden POW Camp in Germany.

On the Saturday:
Free event: WW1 Show & Tell at the Tippett Library on Federation University’s SMB Campus in Lydiard Street South, Ballarat CBD. Bring your WW1 memorabilia along and the team from VIPs will scan or photograph it for you. Bring a USB stick with you and we will save the images we create on the day for your records, on the spot.

Specialist family researchers, historians and museum specialists will be on hand to show you how to appropriately care for items in your WW1 collection. Do you know how to store granddad’s medals properly? What is the correct way to fold and store his WW1 uniform?

Learn how to store paper records like the diaries and letters he sent back home so future generations in your family can enjoy them too.

Single session tickets $15 conc or $20 adult
Discounted All Day tickets (covering sessions one and two) $25 conc and $30 adult.

To organise a booking and ticket purchase please send us a message via the message to

Also check our facebook page for updates:

For more on the movie “Beneath Hill 60″:


Damien Finlayson – to talk about the WW1 Tunnellers in Ballarat:

Damien Finlayson









Author Damien Finlayson, speaking in Ballarat as one of three excellent WW1 military specialists, appearing on one morning session 9:15am to 12:30pm at Jackson’s & Co. Ballarat CBD, on Sunday 27th of April.

Damien is an amateur military historian with a special interest in the First World War. He has worked as a hydro geologist with a private consulting company for the past twenty years and holds a Bachelor and Ma
ster degree in science. “Crumps and Camouflets is his first book, a definitive book on the Tunnellers of World War,

“Crumps & Camouflets talks about the shattered ground that separated the British and German infantry on the Western Front in World War I, of an unseen underground war, fought by miners, ‘tunnellers’ as they were known.



For more on the speakers as well as other Mining Mud & Medals events:

check our previous update or on Facebook:

To organise a booking and ticket purchase please send us a message via the message to

or phone 0424 963 294

Single session tickets $15 conc or $20 adult
Discounted All Day tickets (covering sessions one and two)  $25 conc and $30 adult.

For more on Damien Finlayson:



If you have an interest in WW1 military history you won’t want to miss this…

Come and visit the VIPs team’s Mining Mud & Medals display onsite – Saturday 22 March 2014.

WHAT: Tony Robinson’s Tour of Duty community event with Rotary sausage sizzle

WHERE: Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial, Carlton Street, Lake Wendouree

WHEN: Saturday, March 22 from 12.30pm – 5.30pm

NOTE: Residents with interesting war memorabilia they would like to show or have assessed can register online at

Follow these hyperlinks for further details:

Background Info:

For a map to help you find Ballarat’s Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial:




5th Australian Division Memorial

Join us on Saturday 26 April at the E. J. Tippett Library, Lydiard Street South, Ballarat CBD (through the old gaol gates at SMB) for a FREE workshop. Learn how to research WWI veterans. Get advice on how to look after your precious WWI memorabilia. Have your photos scanned. Reproduction services available.

Our Sunday morning session will take place in The Lawless Room at Jackson & Co. on the corner of Lydiard St Nth and Mair Street. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear three excellent WWI historians speak on Australian Army Tunnellers, and others who served on the Western Front in Belgium and France. See our ANZAC Weekend page for full details.

Join us on Sunday afternoon at the Regent Theatre where the film Beneath Hill 60 will be shown on ‘the big screen.’ This session will be introduced by Ross Thomas, the film’s executive producer.

Bookings open shortly

Prices per Session: $15 conc, $20 adult
All Day Pass: $25 conc $30 adult

Contact Victorian Interpretive Projects Inc.




DATE & VENUE:   Friday 15 November 2013 at 7:30 pm – Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs you all may know the Ballarat Military History Museum Steering Committee have looked at a number of options to double the storage & display area of the current Museum at the Ranger Barracks to allow co-displays of Ballarat’s Military History.

To that end, a Memorandum of Understanding was reached in October 2011 between the Steering Committee, The Ballarat Collection of Wartime Memorabilia (sometimes called the RSL Collection), the Ballarat Ranger Military Museum Foundation and the Sovereign Hill Museums Association-Gold Museum.

Following recent discussions between the BRMM Steering Committee and the former Uni of Ballarat’s School of Mines Carpentry Section, Federation University Australia has now agreed to build a similar sized building using Apprentices. Apprentices from the Lydiard Street Campus will use the construction of the building as part of their practical experience. The cost is anticipated to be approximately $75,000, and possibly less, if in-kind donations of materials and cash donations are forthcoming.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo commence our fundraising activities the Steering Committee through Neil Leckie has been fortunate to gain the services of Lambis Englezos AM who will be giving a talk on his passion, ‘The Lost Diggers of Fromelles’. Lambis is an amateur historian and school teacher who was instrumental in the discovery of the mass War graves from World War 1, near Fromelles in France.

Please join us at the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute (117 Sturt Street, Ballarat CBD) at 7.30 pm on Friday the 15th November 2013. Please be seated by 7.15pm.

The cost is $10 per person which includes a light supper. As this will be a popular event you are advised to book ASAP.

Bookings can be made at David Wright Medals and Memorabilia, 6A Shepperd St (behind the old barracks), or by phoning (03) 5338-4377.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPlease support this important Ballarat Ranger Military Museum fundraiser.  If you have an interest in Fromelles or Military history we look forward to seeing you there!

You are also encouraged to share this information with others who may be interested in hearing about ‘The Lost Diggers of Fromelles.’


Mining, Mud & Medals


Members of the Australian Mining Corps were commonly known as ‘tunnellers’. They worked continuously in wet and muddy conditions, under constant enemy threat. Pneumonia and bronchial illnesses, as well as wear and tear injuries from hard, physical work in close conditions also took their toll. They fought on many battle fronts – from Gallipoli, to France and Belgium – even Mexico.

During WW1 mining engineers, miners, electricians, carpenters and soldier miners, tried to drive their, often narrow tunnels, under no man’s land. A silent and savage war; silent [as] because of the vital need to ensure the enemy couldn’t hear where ANZACs were tunnelling. Savage, because discovery close to enemy lines often meant death by mustard gas, close combat fighting or simply being blown up by enemy mines. The hostilities weren’t just above ground; fighting also took place in closed and cramped spaces underground where the hunters were also being hunted.


Members of the Mining Corps belonged to specialist units: for example, of the Corps of Royal Engineers within the British Army provided skilled men who dug attacking tunnels under enemy lines during the First World War. They worked in guarded silence, with the constant threat of being found and killed by the enemy, in extremely claustrophobic conditions. Both sides had embarked on mining operations, with a determined struggle for tactical superiority.

The Ballarat Electorate enjoys a long history connected with mining and its three Schools of Mines at Ballarat, Clunes & Daylesford. Many talented members of their alumni enlisted during WWI, and history proves these men came with significant levels of experience which then enabled them to deliver vital expertise to the Australian Mining Corps.

Members of the Victorian Interpretive Projects Inc (VIPs) recently created a facebook site designed to highlight the role of the ANZAC tunnellers in WW1 – especially those who haled from the Ballarat Electorate. This facebook site now connects with similar groups on many levels, for example, it is regularly updated with news items, hyperlinks to handy research websites, specialist information, photos, and advance notices about ANZAC related events. Anyone interested in the history of WW1 will find a plethora of interesting items on this site which is aptly named: Mining Mud & Medals.

‘Lest We Forget’.copyrightfree - poppies - alitaylor


Thank you to Delegates

Victorian Interpretive Projects Inc would like to thank all presenters and delegates who attended the VAFHO State Conference ‘Under the Southern Cross: A Goldfields Experience. We have had a quick look at the feedback and are gratified to discover delegates enjoyed the two day event and rated the conference and calibre of presenters very highly. If you want to follow up anything conference related please contact VIPs via this website, our Facebook page, or by emailing

A few photos of delegates registering before the Official Welcome in the beautiful Ballarat Town Hall:



Sovereign Hill Entry Deal

Great news if you are planning to spend a few extra days in Ballarat before or after  the VAFHO Conference. Sovereign Hill have offered our conference delegates at 25% discount on day entry and or show. This will be valid for 1 week from Thursday May 2 to Wednesday May 8 inclusive.

To receive your discount show your VAFHO State conference credentials.

We thank Sovereign Hill for this generous offer.


Conference Programme released via email

A PDF of the VAFHO State Conference Programme has been sent to delegates (a printed version will be found in the conference bag). If you do not receive your conference program please let us know by emailing


Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Nathaniel Buchanan and Suzanne McRae are the operators of Eerie Tours one of the largest privately owned dark tourism businesses in Australia. At the VAFHO State Family History Conference Under the Southern Cross Nathaniel is speaking on insanity on the goldfields and Victoria’s lunatic asylums. Like Cold Case he uncovers stories and facts that have been hidden from the ‘normal’ community and brings evidence to light that is often a ‘gem’ for family historians. Nathaniel is also acting as compere for the Goldfields Dinner where the Frances Brown Award for excellence in family history will be presented.


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