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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.

Kim Eastman and Susie Aulich and the fear of dying

Kim Eastman and Susie Aulich
Kim Eastman and Susie Aulich.
Courtesy: Kim Eastman and Susie Aulich.

Born 1956

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

A custom coffin is a celebration of a person's life It gets people thinking about death, discussing it with family and friends and begins to break down the barriers which keep us from accepting death.

Kim Eastman and Susie Aulich, 1999

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

Olga Horak and the fears of a Holocaust survivor

Olga Horak
Olga Horak.
Courtesy: Olga Horak.

Born 1926

Olga Horak 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', is on display.

Rodney Fox overcomes fear of a shark attack

Rodney Fox at the South Australian Spear Fishing Championships, Aldinga Beach, 1962
Photo: Rodney Fox at the South Australian Spear Fishing Championships, Aldinga Beach, 1962. Courtesy: Fox Shark Research Foundation.

Born 1940

We must learn to live with and understand all sharks including the great white sharks and not kill them simply out of fear.

Rodney Fox, 2001

While participating in a spear-fishing tournament off Aldinga Beach south of Adelaide in 1963, Rodney Fox 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 are on show in Eternity.

Simon Quayle's fear during the Bali bombing

Born 1969

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 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. Simon recalls:

We were all having a good time, and then bang - within a minute the whole place was burning. The flames were just unbearable.

The roof was on top of me, it all caved in, and all around there was flames and fire and people started panicking and were trying any exit out, any entrance. It was absolute chaos in there.

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

Stories previously on display

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

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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