Head for the Hills
'Head For the Hills' explored Chidlow's World War 2 Army Camps. At least 40 000 troops passed through these camps between 1942 and 1945.
Hundreds of artefacts have been uncovered from these sites by the 'Friends of Chidlow's WW2 Army Camps' and 'Heritage Detection Australia'. All these items were donated to the MHHS, to ensure future generations know about this important WW2 military site. The exhibition was a joint project involving the 'Friends of Chidlow's WW2 Army Camps', 'Heritage Detection Australia', and the MHHS.
Rhys Hall generously lent the MHHS many items from his personal collection for this exhibition.
Archaeo Metal Detection
Bringing together detectorists & historians
Archaeo metal detection (AMD) is the use of metal detectors with an archaeological methodology by, or under the supervision of, a trained archaeologist or heritage consultant. It ensures a consistent approach to surveying sites of historical interest.
AMD provided important material evidence of the WW2 military occupation at the Chidlow camps, and of the day-to-day lives of the soldiers who camped there.
Daily Life at the Camp
Everyday items left behind
Heritage detectorists unearthed everyday items from the Chidlow Army Camps; items lost or thrown away by troops as they went about their day. These included harmonicas, a kerosene iron, keys and padlocks, and even a miniature set of bellows.
Buckles & Clips
The many ways of attaching things together
To the trained eye these various buckles and clips are more than just bits of metal left behind. Instead they tell the story of the many items required to keep an army in the field. Included here are buckles for webbing and water canteens, clips for a rifle, a flag pole, and a gas mask bag. And in the middle? A Bren gun carrier track.
Badges, Buttons, and Trench Art
The unique amidst the dross
Among the many service badges, coins, and buttons retrieved from the Chidlow Army Camps are exquisitely crafted examples of trench art: bullet casings re-crafted into handles for shaving brushes, coins refashioned as love tokens. These add a personal touch to the many other standard items found at the camps, such as General Service badges (also known as Rising Sun badges) and the 'Australia' title badge worn by troops at the base of their shoulder straps.
A Treasure Trove
Just waiting to be found
Along with an abundance of small items such as bullet casings, the recent survey of the army camps revealed some larger items, often hidden in plain sight in the bush of Chidlow. These included targets for shooting practice, directional signage, and number plates.