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The Glass Cricket Ball

War * Art * Sacrifice

(2 customer reviews)
Authors: Jan William Smith
Australian History, Non Fiction
140mm x 210mm

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The moving and evocative story of Napier Waller’s masterpiece – the Hall of Memory – the spiritual heart of the Australian War Memorial.
The one-armed Melbourne artist Napier Waller OBE CMG created the great Hall of Memory at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Waller died in 1972 without knowing that 20 years later his greatest work would be the place for a tomb that would be central to Australia’s remembrance of war dead. The Glass Cricket Ball is a story of Waller’s life, the creation of a great artwork and the bringing home and re-burial of the remains of an Unknown Australian Soldier from a French World War I battleground cemetery.

Napier Waller was a casualty at the battle of Bullecourt. A watercolour artist on the Western Front should be out of his comfort zone when his wounds include the loss of his right painting arm. But Napier Waller’s answer was to become Australia’s greatest monumental artist – with his left hand.

Waller and the war historian Charles Bean had a fine time deciding which words described the quintessential qualities of Australian fighting men and women in World War I. The words would be included at the foot of each of the fifteen windows of the Hall of Memory and would define fighting, social and personal qualities. The window defined as “ancestry” would include a sporting image and Waller chose to include a stained-glass cricket ball and stumps – a tradition of the Anzacs of World War I.

Jan William Smith

Jan William Smith

Jan Smith was born at Dalby, Queensland in 1935, and was educated at Toowoomba, Southport and Canberra. He began a journalism career with a cadetship on the Toowoomba Chronicle. He has been a journalist on daily newspapers in Mackay, Toowoomba, Sydney; ABC radio and TV Mackay, Toowoomba, Canberra; Federal government media liaison Canberra, local government […]

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2 reviews for The Glass Cricket Ball

  1. Writer Jan Smith has three books in publication – The Glass Cricket Ball, Mackie & Jack and the soon to be released Hitler’s Tractor. Writers may dream of having one book published, but retired journalist Jan William Smith is celebrating three within twelve months, all at the age of 87 …. Born in 1934, he says there should be no surprise that an 87-year-old writer should continue his craft. “Tom Keneally, who almsot shares the same birthday as me, manages it, so why can’t I?”

  2. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the glass panels in the Hall of Memory, and the next time you have the opportunity to visit the War Memorial take a moment to reflect on the significance of the panels and look for the glass ball and stumps located on the `ancestry’ panel and remember what one man was able to achieve even with the loss of an arm. All in all, a great read.

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