Our Embassy in America has turned to the creators of Sands of Gallipoli to design a special commemorative set to mark 100 Years of Mateship between the US and Australia - an alliance first forged at the Battle of Hamel in 1918.


Image: Painting by war artist A.Pearse. Capture of Hamel Village 4 July 1918 . 

Canberra artisan Steve Rainey, the lead designer of the hugely popular Sands of Gallipoli commemorative collections, will use Western Front soil collected by the Australian War Memorial in a special medallion set created especially for the Australian Embassy in Washington D.C. to mark 100 Years of Mateship between Australia and the United States of America.

The Australian Embassy was so inspired by the landmark Sands of Gallipoli collection (which features sands collected from Anzac Cove at Gallipoli) that it asked BrandNet Australia, the creators of Sands of Gallipoli, to create something special that would be a treasured memento of this historic anniversary.

BrandNet provides retail shops and design services for all services, and its lead commemorative designer, Steve Rainey is one of Australia’s most prolific and highly regarded designers of military related commemorative memorabilia.

As part of the BrandNet commemorative team Mr Rainey has worked with leading historians, writers and military advisors to create products related to almost every era and aspect of Australian military service.

SoG 2016 goes beyond Gallipoli

On 4 July 2018 Australia and the U.S. celebrate a mateship first forged in the trenches of the First World War at the Battle of Hamel in 1918.  The offensive to retake Hamel was historic for a number of reasons.  It was the first time American troops and the Australian Imperial Force fought side by side; and it was also the first time American troops fought offensively under the command of a non-American, in this case Australian General Sir John Monash. In honour of the Americans he was commanding, General Monash chose 4 July (American Independence Day) as the date of the offensive.  The battle took just 93 minutes and the victory helped turn the tide against the Germans on the Western Front.

Since then Australian and American forces have stood side by side in most every major world conflict, and today the relationship between nations in marked by mutual respect and high regard.

“It is a rare honour to be asked to create such a special tribute to a military alliance as important as that between Australia and the U.S.,” Mr Rainey said. “Such is the importance of this collection to our nation that the Australian War Memorial donated what most would agree is sacred soil taken from the bloodiest theatre of war Australia has ever seen.”

The soil to be included in the 100 Years of Mateship boxed proof medallion set was collected from the Western Front by the Australian War Memorial and used to create the memorial’s Western Front garden in Canberra.

The symbolic mateship proof medallion measures 50mm by 4.5mm and is solid brass finished in silver. It features images of Australians and Americans at Hamel as well as a unique kangaroo and eagle mateship motif.  The medallion set is NOT available for sale and will be used exclusively by the Australian Government as part of events commemorating the 100 Year of mateship.

Mr Rainey, who has been involved in designing every piece in the Sands of Gallipoli series since it was conceived more than a decade ago believes the inclusion of actual soil from the Western Front will provide people with a very tangible link to the men, times and events we commemorate.

Sands of Gallipoli is not just about remembering our history,” he said. “We created Sands of Gallipoli so that people could hold that history and I believe the same sense of respect and closeness will be felt by those who are gifted the mateship medallions by the Australian Government.”

While the mateship medallion is not available to the public people can still purchase remaining limited editions from Sands of Gallipoli collections. See the full SoG collection here.

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