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Exhibition features artworks portraying relationship between U.S. & Australia from WWI to present
Dugouts near Villers Bretonneux by Will Longstaff.


KANSAS CITY, MO.- Australian and American troops fought side-by-side for the first time in July 1918 during World War I. Since then, the Diggers (Australians) and Doughboys (Americans) supported each other in every major military conflict, including World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Opening Tuesday, Sept. 11 at the National WWI Museum and Memorial, Diggers and Doughboys: The Art of Allies 100 Years On features incredible artwork from the Australian War Memorial Collection illustrating the unique comradeship between the two countries.

“The relationship between the militaries of Australia and the U.S. stands as one of the most consistent and supportive alliances in the histories of both nations,” said National WWI Museum and Memorial Senior Curator Doran Cart. “This diverse collection portrays a century of military collaboration between these two nations through deeply engaging and impressive artworks from World War I through the modern era.”

On July 4, 1918, Australian and U.S. soldiers fought side-by-side for the first time at Hamel, France in a battle in which the American Expeditionary Forces fought under Australian command. The following day, Lt. General Sir John Monash, Commander of the Australian Corps, noted that this served as “an historic event of such significance that it will live forever in the annals of our respective Nations.”

The Diggers and Doughboys became fast comrades not only because their campaign hats and swagger were similar, but also from their shared democratic outlook on military rules, regulations and officers.

From the 93 minutes that the Battle of Hamel took to today, Australian and American forces have shared an alliance forged from steel. That alliance proved steadfast in World War II when they again fought side by side which turned the tide of the war in the Pacific. Almost one million American men and women service personnel trained and passed through Australia during the war.

A pamphlet given to Americans going to fight alongside their Australian counterparts in 1942 related that “the Aussies don't fight out of a textbook. They're resourceful, inventive soldiers, with plenty of initiative.”

The Diggers and Doughboys supported each other through every world conflict after 1945 from Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. The military alliance endures today in Syria and Iraq combating the threat of terrorism and as peacekeepers world-wide. The strong bond between the two countries’ military was formalized with the ANZUS Treaty in 1951, a cornerstone of American and Australian national security.

Throughout the longstanding relationship between the “Diggers” and “Doughboys,” one of the most common questions posed relates to their nicknames: where do the terms come from?

Laurence Stallings, Doughboy turned historian, wrote in 1963 that there can be little dispute as to the derivation of the name. “In Texas, U.S. infantry along the Rio Grande were powdered white with the dust of the adobe soil and hence were called adobes by the mounted troops. It was a short step to dobies then by metathesis the word was doughboy.” The term Doughboy seems to have been applied to all infantrymen, even the unit segregated African American troops.

The word “Digger” has been around since the early days of the gold rush in Australia and anecdotally there is evidence that some Colonial Australians were given the nickname Digger because of their mining endeavors. Private Tudor Roberts wrote in September 1917 from France that: "the name Digger came from the (British) Tommies who think we Australians are all miners or cowboys." Charles Bean, the Australian Official War Historian writing of the mid 1917 period, said: "It was at this stage that Australian soldiers came to be known, together with the New Zealanders, as the Diggers…the term had been occasionally heard before."





Today's News

September 11, 2018

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Christie's to auction five artworks to launch new Bennington College initiative to fund scholarships

Jeanne Bucher Jaeger Gallery honors the Russian artists that it showed on its walls between 1925 and 1955

'Hunger stones' tell Elbe's centuries-old tale of drought

Yasufumi Nakamori appointed Tate Modern's Senior Curator of International Art (Photography)

Phillips Auctioneers announces its inaugural Day Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art and Design in Hong Kong

Steve McQueen's heist movie 'Widows' premieres in Toronto

First comprehensive retrospective in the U.S. devoted to the work of Siah Armajani opens in Minneapolis

Old Masters/New Scholars: Works of art to benefit Rugby School

Almine Rech Gallery announces representation of Estate of Vivian Springford

Exhibition features artworks portraying relationship between U.S. & Australia from WWI to present

Freeman's Books, Maps & Manuscripts Auction debuts new department head

Newly discovered masterpiece by Foujita offered at Bonhams Impressionist and Modern Art Sale

Final exhibition of the Making Things Happen cycle opens at The Merchant House

Compton Verney Director leaves for overseas role

Exhibition at Aperture Foundation spotlights work of midcareer photographers

Powerful artist's compelling works confront important societal issues

Rare Tiffany Studios floor and table lamps will headline Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers sale

Magnum Print Room opens exhibition of works by Carolyn Drake, Bieke Depoorter and Susan Meiselas

Gabrielle Wyrick appointed as Deputy Director for Learning and Engagement at New Orleans Museum of Art

Intricate pieces from the 1700s on display at Walker Art Gallery

Clark Art Institute names Larry Smallwood as Deputy Director

Christie's announces new initiative with Global Wildlife Conservation

Tai Kwun Contemporary stages: Cao Fei's first institutional solo exhibition in Asia

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