Nationally Significant Medal Collection to relocate to Artillery Barracks in Fremantle

After decades of calling Leeuwin Barracks, East Fremantle home, the Royal United Services Institute of WA will be relocating to Artillery Barracks in Fremantle on 1 July 2017.

RUSI WA, established in 1902, holds a nationally significant collection of medals and other historical documents, including photographs, correspondence and personal items that were donated to the Institute over the past century.  The collection includes medals from the Battle of Waterloo (1815), the Boer War, WWI, WWII, through to recent conflicts. Over May and June 2017 RUSI WA will move its historically significant collection of medals, memorabilia and library books to the new site.

The displays of RUSI WA Medal Collection are now available for viewing by the general public at the Army Museum of Western Australia.  After 70 years behind closed doors this will mark a significant chapter in RUSI WA’s 115 year history.  This relocation of the Medal Collection has been supervised by the RUSI WA Curator of Medals, Ms Kalindi Hopping with the support from the Curator of the Army Museum of Western Australia, Col (Ret’d) Robert Mitchell.  Eleven panels, displaying the medals, were moved from their current home to a special exhibition room at the museum in May.

RUSIWA is passionate about its role as caretaker of its medals, historical memorabilia and other artefacts. A fascinating story of research, synchronicity and a journey of discovery recently led the current Bessell-Browne descendants to locate the resting place of their great-grandfathers medals, commissioning documents, mentions in despatches (MIDs) donated to RUSI WA in the 1960s. The descendants were most pleased with the care of the medals and they were also provided with copies of correspondence pertaining to significance of the medal collection, including the MIDs.  They family subsequently donated a photograph of Brigadier General Bessell-Browne to be placed alongside the, soon to be refurbished, medal panel.

As a stand-alone Not-for-Profit organisation, RUSI WA endeavours to convey issues of state and national concern to the people of Perth, Western Australia.  Through a monthly speaker program RUSI WA strives to draw the attention of the general community through presentations and lectures by subject matter experts on Defence and National Security issues.  Past presentations have included talks on a wide range of national security and defence issues: the Indian Ocean Region, maritime and aviation, defence and industry development, economic strategic direction and leadership, cyber security and preparedness, energy security, food & water security, and extremism in all its guises.

RUSIWA currently has over 100 members and a Council of 12 members.  The organisation is made up of current and ex serving defence personnel, security professionals, academics, historians, medal enthusiasts and university students. Those wishing to become a member can contact the Secretary/President email: [email protected].