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Anzac butterfly story emerges

ANZAC-inspired arts installations keep rolling out in Albany, with a new exhibition now planned to tell the story of how two Australian generals and their troops saved the world’s best butterfly collection from almost certain destruction.

The Weekender can reveal that the Butterflies of Corbie exhibition is planned to emerge from its chrysalis at Mount Adelaide on November 1.

The exhibition, subject to a $20,000 funding application to the Federal Government, is slated to tell how at the French village of Corbie Eugene Boullet amassed the finest known butterfly collection in the world.

In April 1918, the collection faced devastation during some of the most pivotal battles of World War One.

But Australian commander Brigadier General Harold ‘Pompey’ Elliott – passionate and headstrong but facing his own personal battles – became the collection’s unlikely saviour.

A City of Albany document seen by The Weekender explains that Lieutenant General Sir J.J. Talbot Hobbs and his division also helped save the collection.

The planned exhibition consists of letters and diaries, watercolours of the butterflies, and a selection of the butterflies themselves.

“These small objects – the butterflies and the letters – have a large story to tell about the strong and enduring relationship between the people of Australia and France and our collective history,” the City document promises.

The exhibition, planned to run until Anzac Day 2020, is expected to feature a short film documenting the story of Monsieur Boullet’s butterflies.

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