They stare aimlessly into the distance, ignored, slightly sad, timeless, peculiarly inactive – Laurence Aberhart’s Anzac diggers seem a long way from the energetic ‘mates’ that they were once erected to represent. They have been transformed from men struggling to survive in the muddy trenches of the Western Front into static marble figures in a landscape. And while the message on the gates which enclose them or the pedestals which support them proclaim ‘Their name liveth on ‘We shall remember them’. The overwhelming sense is of figures who have been forgotten, left to weather and fade from memory, unable to fend off the encroaching environment. It is the contrast of surrounds with marble statue that is the enduring impression of Aberharts’s powerful images. Jock Phillips, Anzac Photographs by Laurence Aberhart, Victoria University Press. 2014, p.7
Monuments to those who fell in the Great World War of 1914-18 can be found all over Australasia. Lovingly erected to immortalise those they remember, they appeared throughout the landscape immediately after the war. Generations gone by, they are the remnants of another time; a reminder of a faded community-mindedness. Although immediately familiar, they are taken for granted, just passed by. Here, Aberhart brings the near forgotten into focus, making protagonists of those on the edge of our collective consciousness.