Artlab conservators have the privilege to work on war memorabilia bought in to us through our Consultation Day service.

Conservator working on mascotJustin Gare, Senior Objects Conservator during the conservation treatment of “Joey” the kangaroo mascot.

In recognition of Remembrance Day, we would like to feature a WW1 project we worked on for a client who owned “Joey”, a small kangaroo mascot made from leather.

The mascot originally belonged to Captain Elliot Frederick (Tab) Pflaum, born 1892, in Birdwood, South Australia. Tab (his nickname) joined the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) and flew reconnaissance missions throughout Europe during WWI. Captain Pflaum returned to England and became a flight instructor and flew two planes, a 2-seater Avro 504K and a Sopwith Camel. Both were painted white so young pilots in mock dog-fights could identify the instructor’s plane.

Tab fitted “Joey”, when he flew either of the aircraft, on top of the petrol cap, just behind the rear seat. The mascot was attached to the plane only by a long thin steel spike welded to the petrol cap, which extended up through the length of the body, securing “Joey” during aerial manoeuvres.

The mascot received conservation treatment and was later exhibited in Keepsakes and Stories: Conserving Mementos from WW1 exhibition held at Artlab Australia in 2016. This show was part of the Flanders Field Poppy Trail, a special program of events to commemorate battles fought by Australians in the Great War (1914-1918), held at various venues over Adelaide from June to August. Keepsakes and Stories featured WW1 Memorabilia conserved by Artlab for private clients who enthusiastically participated in the event. The clients also shared the stories behind their keepsakes which were displayed in the exhibition alongside the memorabilia.

To view more images of Captain Pflaum and Joey please visit Artlab Australia’s Facebook page