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Media release – April 21 2015

The largest ever collection of the art of war artist Jack Chalker is going on show in Australia to mark Anzac Day.

Ryman Healthcare has sponsored the Weary Dunlop & Jack Chalker, POWs: Artist in Captivity Exhibition at the Mission Beach Community Arts Centre in Queensland.

Jack Chalker, who died last year, was taken prisoner by the Japanese in 1942 and was put to work on the notorious ‘death railway’ between Thailand and Burma.

He was one of the prisoners known as Weary’s1000. The group was named after their leader Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop.

Weary Dunlop was an army surgeon who spent his time in captivity dedicated to keeping the men in his care alive, and he was knighted after the war and named Australian of the Year for his extraordinary service.

During their imprisonment Weary Dunlop asked Jack Chalker to record the appalling conditions they were kept in.

The artist went to extraordinary lengths to record the conditions on the railway, hiding his paintings and sketches from the Japanese guards. He was beaten after some of his work was discovered, and his surviving sketches were used as evidence at the Tokyo War Crimes Trials.

Weary Dunlop’s son John is the driving force behind the exhibition, and has allowed a number of his own Chalker prints to be part of the display. The Australian War Memorial has also reproduced prints from the original artworks for the exhibition.

There will be more than 120 Chalker works on display, many of which have never been seen in public before.

 Exhibition co-ordinator Sue Pullman said Ryman Healthcare’s sponsorship enabled the delicate originals from the Australian War Memorial archive to be photographed so that prints for the exhibition could be made. Several pieces of memorabilia from the Thai-Burma Railway will also be on display.

Ryman Healthcare managing director Simon Challies said the company was delighted to help with the project. Ryman opened its first village in Melbourne last year, and it was named after Weary Dunlop.

“We were pleased to be offered the chance to work with the Dunlop and Chalker families to ensure that this remarkable collection is seen by the public.’’

“We think it is particularly important that the hard work and suffering of prisoners of war like Jack Chalker and Weary Dunlop goes on show in time for Anzac Day.’’

The exhibition opens on April 24 and runs until June 3. The organisers are hoping to see it go on tour to other galleries in Australia and New Zealand.


About Ryman Healthcare: Ryman was founded in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies.  The company owns 30 villages and serves over 8,000 residents in New Zealand and Australia.  Each village offers a combination of retirement living and aged care.

Media advisory: For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Corporate Affairs Manager David King on 03 366 4069 (+64 3 366 4069) or 021 499 602 (+64 21 499 602).



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