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Bayonets and Butterflies

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An untold war story of triumph, beauty, art and science - of a globally significant collection and its connection to Western Australia.

Bayonets and Butterflies is the little known, yet powerful story that describes a moment of quiet hope and care, amidst the devastated landscape of the French battlefields 102 years ago. It involves Major General Harold 'Pompey' Elliott and Lt. General Sir J.J. Talbot Hobbs, two much-loved characters in the National Anzac Centre, Albany. The Centre opened in 2014 and was curated by the Western Australian Museum. The Museum remains responsible for the curatorial content.

Filmmaker Sam Hobbs, great-grandson of Lieutenant General Sir Joseph Talbot Hobbs, in partnership with Siamese Studios and the Western Australian Museum, has created a documentary film telling this poignant story. The film reveals how, in 1918, on the eve of the Villers-Bretonneux offensive and with slaughter and destruction all around them, Australian troops commanded by Hobbs and Elliot rescued French Lepidopterist Eugene Boullet's priceless collection of butterflies.

The butterfly story exemplifies the strong personal relationships that emerged between people of France and Australia, and symbolizes ideals of post-war peace. The documentary explores the extraordinary confluence of a great collector, a great collection, two Australian Generals, and their unique rescue mission during the Great War... And how the butterfly legacy continues to resonate through the scientific research being undertaken today.

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