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Memento : Issue 31
22 NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF AUSTRALIA An unexpected find in a routine naval file allows an artist’s legacy to live on. Staff working on Navy correspondence files in our Melbourne office recently discovered a series of sketchbooks and accompanying papers that tell the story of Rex Julius, the first official artist appointed by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) during World War II. The son of Harry Julius, a well-known Sydney commercial artist, Rex joined the Royal Navy at the outset of the war. Over the next three years, he served in the English Channel and the Mediterranean prior to crossing to the Royal Australian Navy to see active service in the Pacific. During his spare time at sea, Rex created drawings of daily life aboard ship. Such was the quality of his work that senior officers brought his talent to the attention of Navy command. In early 1944, he was given the newly created role of official artist in the RAN Historical Records Section. Rex was instructed to cover all suitable subjects on a particular ship prior to being posted to another. The Navy hoped that Rex would serve aboard many ships and bases to create a vast range of images for both historical and publicity purposes. Fulfilling a promise NAA:B6121,19E