Exhibition commemorates enduring Aussie spirit

Published on Friday, 20 August 2021 at 12:36:23 PM

To commemorate 80 years since the Siege of Tobruk, the Princess Royal Fortress is hosting a free exhibition which explores the Australian story that emerged from this 242-day long siege.

The Rats of Tobruk captures the unique story of the Australian-led garrison that held the Libyan port against the Afrika Corps in World War II.

After the 6th Australian Division had captured the city from the Italians on 21 January 1941, one of Germany’s best generals, Erwin Rommel, surrounded Tobruk with the Afrika Corps.

By April, the Australians and British Army were besieged by German forces.

These soldiers played a prominent role in the town’s defence, with those who served there becoming known as the ‘Rats of Tobruk’.

The 24-panel exhibition tells the tale of how the 35,000 allies, 14,000 of which being Australian soldiers, gained their name and weathered the unrelenting forces of one of the longest sieges in British military history.

Princess Royal Fortress Curator David Theodore encouraged the Albany community to visit the exhibition and learn about this defining historical moment in Australian history.

“The Rats of Tobruk exhibition embodies the core of the Australian spirit,” he said.

“It is important that we recognise these historical events, even 80 years on, as they form the foundations of our national identity and can work to inform our future.”

This exhibition is available to view from 9am to 4pm in the Barracks Building of the Princess Royal Fortress, from 28 August 2021 through to 13 February 2022.

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