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Feel fear? Be very afraid. Perhaps the strongest of all emotions, fear can crucify your body. Faced with impending danger, your hair stands on end. Blood runs cold. Flesh creeps. Adrenalin pumps as you flinch, shake or quiver, even petrify. Terrors by their nature must be faced alone. But in retelling the horror, fear can unite.

Featured stories

Rodney Fox — fear of a shark attack

While participating in a spear-fishing tournament off Aldinga Beach south of Adelaide in 1963, Rodney Fox (born 1940) was nearly bitten in half by a great white. Held together by his wet suit, he was rushed to a hospital, where 462 stitches were required to sew him up.

Rodney was back in the water in less than three months and has devoted much of his life to understanding the behaviour of the great white shark. He is regarded as one of the world's foremost authorities on the great white shark and he has been involved in numerous expeditions, movies, books and scientific studies of the shark.

The jaws of a great white shark were on display.

Kim Eastman and Susie Aulich — fear of dying

Kim Eastman and Susie Aulich (born 1956) of Launceston have decided to bring a little life to the business of death by making custom coffins.

Susie and Kim believe their custom made coffins 'make the statement that the person inside is an individual and not afraid to carry that mark of individuality right to the grave'. They found a gap in the coffin market: 'We thought that the coffins on offer, all of similar shapes and varying shades of brown, were boring and depressing and expressed nothing of the life of the person inside them.'

A mermaid coffin was on display in the Eternity gallery. It was crafted by three Tasmanian artists and featured a mermaid on the outside, a seabed on the inside and a pillow in the shape of a shell.

Olga Horak — fears of a Holocaust survivor

Olga Horak (born 1926) survived one of the most tragic and terrifying periods in world history.

Born in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia) in 1926, Olga was thirteen years old when the war broke out. The passing of the anti-Semitic Nuremberg Laws in her country in 1940 resulted in the removal of Olga's older sister Judith by the Nazis and forced Olga and her parents into hiding. Olga was later to discover that Judith had been murdered in Auschwitz, a Nazi concentration camp.

The Rosenberger family lived in constant fear of being discovered. In 1944 they were denounced and transported first to a transit camp and then to Auschwitz.

Olga's father was gassed at Auschwitz and after being selected to survive by the infamous Nazi doctor, Josef Mengele, Olga and her mother lived through five different concentration camps and a death march. Olga and her mother were prisoners of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany when in April 1945, British troops arrived to liberate the prisoners. Olga's mother died on this day. In 1949 Olga and her husband John, also a Holocaust survivor, emigrated to Australia to begin a new life. Olga Horak continues to tell her story at the Jewish Museum in Sydney, where she works as a volunteer.

Olga expresses some of her feelings through sculpture, and one of these, called 'Exodus', was on display.

Simon Quayle — fear during the Bali bombing

On Saturday night, 12 October 2002, the Sari Club in Bali came under attack from terrorists. Two blasts destroyed the club killing many of those inside. Simon Quayle (born 1969) was there with 20 members of the Kingsley football club. This trip was to be a celebration of the club's success during the latest football season. Seven of the members of the club were killed during the attack.

A memorial container of debris from the Sari Club, presented to Simon by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was on display.

Eva Castley

Fear for her life during the Second World War (1950-1970s)

In our collection

Hungarian embroidered red velvet gala dress, worn by Eva Castley in 1974Hungarian hand and machine sewn embroidered red velvet gala dress. A full-length gown with bodice and cream-coloured half-length satin-like sleeves gathered with elastic. The neck is surrounded by a similar satin frill, and the collar is attached with press studs, which are sewn to the velvet around the neck. The velvet is lined...

Edward 'Weary' Dunlop

A medical officer and one of 61,000 allied prisoners-of-war who were forced to work in the jungle building the Thai-Burma Railway (1943)

Zane Gray

Fear of sharks, exploited by Western writer (1930s)

Shirley Gwynne

Cyclone Tracy survivor (1970s)

Geoff Hazel

Unarmed peacekeeper under attack, fear of civilians (1999)

Mary Lee

Bombing of Darwin and Cyclone Tracey (Second World War and 1974)

Violet and Bruce Roberts

Sufferers of domestic violence, convicted for killing the abuser, eventually released (to 1980s)

Geza Varasdi

Hungarian asylum seeker after 1956 Olympics (1956)

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