Australian War Memorial, Canberra

5 out of 5 stars 71 Reviews

Treloar Crescent, Campbell 02 6243 4211

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  • Lest We Forget
    Lest We Forget
    by wabat
  • Menin Gate Lion (right)
    Menin Gate Lion (right)
    by wabat
  • Menin Gate Lion (left)
    Menin Gate Lion (left)
    by wabat
  • pedroswift's Profile Photo

    See the original Menin Gate Lions

    by pedroswift Updated Aug 1, 2007

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    Medieval stone lions frm  MeninGate, Ypres Belgium

    There are over 50 VT tips on the A.W.M. What can I add? Only a specific which I have found particularly touching. A response to the ANZAC' spirit from the citizens of a town half the world away.
    If you have visited Ypres (Ieper)in Belgium or if you intend to go (& it is a must for Aussies and Kiwis making a pilgimage to First World War battle sites) please note the Menin Gate Lions near the entrance to the museum at the Australian War Memorial.
    The plaque on the wall explains:
    "Menin Gate Lions
    These medieval stone lions once stood on either side of the Menin Gate in the walls of the town of Ypres in Belgium. Ypres was destroyed in the war, and these lions were recovered from the ruins of the Menin Gate.
    During the first world war allied soldiers passed through the gate to the battlefields around Ypres, where over 38,000 Australian soldiers were killed or wounded. The Gate became the site of a memorial to the British empire soldiers, including over 6,000 Australians, killed around Ypres and who have no known graves.
    In 1936 the Burgomaster of Ypres presented the lions to the Australian Government as a gesture of friendship between that town and the people of Australia. They commemorate the service of the Australian soldiers who helped to defend Ypres in 1917."

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  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo

    Memorials along ANZAC Parade

    by Kakapo2 Updated Jul 8, 2007

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    ANZAC Parade, as seen from Mount Ainslie.

    An incredible lot of memorials are lined along ANZAC parade. Already this gives you the idea that Australia has been involved in more wars than you would have thought.

    The memorials:

    Australian Hellenic Memorial
    Australian Army National Memorial
    Australian National Korean War Memorial
    Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial
    Desert Mounted Corps Memorial
    New Zealand Memorial
    Rats of Tobruk Memorial
    Royal Australian Air Force Memorial
    Australian Service Nurses National Memorial
    Royal Australian Navy Memorial
    Kemal Ataturk Memorial

    If you want to know more details about these memorials, VT Member "iandsmith" has posted a lot of tips on his page, as well as more detailed info about the halls and rooms of the Australian War Memorial itself. Check his page here

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  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo

    A Peaceful Place to Remember Wars, Heroes and Dead

    by Kakapo2 Written Jul 8, 2007

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    Impressive entrance of the War Memorial.

    A War Memorial is no place to honour warlords. It honours soldiers who left their homes to fight for a better world and peace. This War Memorial reflects this spirit in a serene way.

    I suppose Australians can honour their soldiers and dead in a more honourable way than we Germans can do, as they have never started a war that would have changed the world. Most Germans get too much when they see military parades although we know very well that the majority of German soldiers, for example in WWII, fought for their country and not for Hitler's wicked ideals. But we acknowledge that you Aussies and Kiwis celebrate ANZAC Day as a reminder that peace is the most important thing in the world and how horrible war is.

    The monumental concrete building was erected at the end of a straight line from Old and New Parliament House - a theoretical straight line, as ANZAC Parade is the only real avenue on this line, and it ends at the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, and no bridge connects the parliamentary zone and the War Memorial side of the lake. It sits right at the foot of Mount Ainslie, so you have the absolutely best view over those three landmarks from up there.

    The Australian War Memorial is the nation's tribute to its 102,000 war dead. Their names are listed on the Roll of Honour. It was opened by the Governor General Lord Gowrie on 11 November 1941. Additions and extensions have been made after World War II and 1971.

    The Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier commemorates all Australians who lost their lives during the wars in the armed forces or in non-combatant roles. The remains of an unidentified Australian soldier were exhumed from a cemetery at Villers-Bretonneux, France, and re-interred in the Hall of Memory on 11 November 1993.

    Although the exhibits are incredibly interesting, the commemorative area with the reflecting pool is the most beautiful part of the Memorial to me, as there you can have your own thoughts about war and peace, and digest all the horrible truths after having visited the exhibitions.

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  • Krisanne's Profile Photo

    A great museum of remembrance!

    by Krisanne Written May 3, 2007

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    This is a wonderful place. Lots of great exhibits. Make sure you put aside a good half to full day here. It is also free entry but you can also leave a gold coin donation to help in the upkeep of the memorial.

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  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Australian War Museum

    by iandsmith Updated Jul 29, 2006

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    A brooding sombre reminder of conflicts past.
    1 more image

    This is, without question, one of the "must-see's" of the Australian tourist circuit. Its fame is world wide and rightly so. What it promises, it delivers. It is a sombre monument to the folly of war, perhaps at times glorifying moments but always reminding one that wars are appalling things to have to endure.
    In the ensuing pages I will elaborate on certain aspects for you.

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  • Clint_From_Canberra's Profile Photo

    Australian War Memorial

    by Clint_From_Canberra Written Apr 23, 2006

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    The Lancaster bomber, G for George

    If your into the history of war of Australians who are or were involved all the wars then this is the best place to come.

    In the Australian War Memorial located in Campbell which is directly across the lake from the Old and New Parliament Houses which you can see clearly from the view above the entrance on the walkway.

    The Australian War Memorial has history, files, photos on past world wars, vietnam, korean, gulf war, and current wars involving Australians.

    They have different areas for each war such as the First World War as known now as the Great War and also the Second World War in different areas of combat such as European war, Japanese, War in pacific, Middle East, Asia, and other areas.

    They also have an area telling you about Gallipolli and how the Anzacs fought the battle on Anzac Cove in the First World War and after it.

    The Australian War Memorial is an interesting tourist attraction for all ages and has won a number of National Tourist Attraction Awards over the years.

    The Anzac Day services on 25th April each year begin at 5:30am for the dawn service and 10:15am for the National service which is broadcasted live on national television across Australia and I think New Zealand as well I think.

    So it's well worth the visit and entry is free.

    The Australian War Memorial is open daily from 9am - 5:30pm except closed half a day on 25th April for Anzac Day services.

    For more information about the Australian War Memorial please give them a call or visit the website listed below.

    There is public buses going to and from the War Memorial often and it's only a short drive from the city center and from the other National Tourist Attractions.

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  • tiabunna's Profile Photo

    Anzac Parade and Memorials

    by tiabunna Written Apr 18, 2006

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    WW1 Mounted Infantry Memorial
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    It is probably fair to state that Anzac Parade is by far the most important ceremonial parade in Australia. Flanking the Parade are separate memorials to units of the military forces and to various campaigns. Fittingly, the first installed was to the Mounted Infantry of Australia and New Zealand (ANZAC is the acronym for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) who operated in the Middle East in 1916-1918, during WW1. This is on the western side of Anzac Parade, not far from St John's Church.

    The attached photos give a sampling of the memorials, but there are many more to see. Suggestion: take a walk up and down Anzac Parade to view the memorials, also including St John's church and school museum (see separate tip) - this will take about half a day without rushing.

    If you can organise a group (there is a minimum number limit) you can book free guided tours, presented by National Capital Authority volunteer guides.

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  • tiabunna's Profile Photo

    The Australian War Memorial

    by tiabunna Updated Apr 17, 2006

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    Australian War Memorial and Mt Aislie

    This should top the list as a 'must see'. Situated across the lake from Parliament House, along the Anzac Avenue axis (see heading photo) and directly below Mt Ainslie, the Australian War Memorial is the seemingly contrasting combination of a world-class war museum and a very solemn war memorial. You will be alternately fascinated and depressed by what you find there. The overall effect is tremendously moving.

    I would suggest that you allow a day for a visit if possible. If only half a day is available, ensure you visit the Shrine to the Unknown Soldier and the Hall of Memories (where there are plaques listing over 100,000 Australians who have died in wars involving our country - well over half in WW1).

    There are free guided tours of the Memorial. For those interested in family genealogy, there is also a comprehensive database of military records, available to family members.

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  • martin_nl's Profile Photo

    Australian War Memorial

    by martin_nl Written Oct 22, 2005

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    The war memorial building
    2 more images

    This is a very big museum, that memorises and displays pictures, relics, dioramas and exhibitions detailing the human toll of wartime. It is very educative to walk around here. In the Netherlands we mainly learn about WW II and mainly about the way we were involved in it all. This is from a European persepctive. I know harldy anything about what happened in Japan, and how Australia was involved in the wars. If you want to know this museum will show you that.

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  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Simpson and his donkey

    by iandsmith Updated Sep 19, 2005

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    Epic man, epic deeds

    The exploits of a man and his donkey during the ill-conceived and executed battle on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey are the stuff of legend. How this man carried wounded troops back from the front line, time after time, is one of the great Australian epics of heroism under fire. It is held in such high esteem that this statue holds a pride of place as you walk from the carpark to the museum.
    During the current, at times hysterical, debate over immigration, this man's exploits were held as a prime example of what it means to be an Australian and what our values are. The high ranking politician who espoused this was perhaps unaware that Simpson was, in point of fact, an illegal immigrant and lied his way to get into the army. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story!

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  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Tomb of the unknown soldier

    by iandsmith Written Sep 18, 2005

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    The War Museum's eternal flame

    This museum has the largest collection of VCs (Victoria Crosses) anywhere. This was the highest order that a serviceman from the then British Empire could attain. The words "for valour" are enscribed on the medal and many were awarded posthumously. Heroic tales of how the medals were won are writ large in front of them, evoking deeds of times past. One wonders if it could be a VC winner that lies beneath the eternal flame.
    It seems to be a world-wide phenomenon, the tomb of the unknown soldier. Knowing that a single unidentified serviceman's remains are interred at a particular point, representing the millions killed during the conflicts, has a certain poignancy about it.
    Due reverence is paid and, at the end of the day, a small ceremony takes place here at the eternal flame that highlights the tomb.

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  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Another war capture

    by iandsmith Written Sep 18, 2005

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    Hagar, the bust from Palmyra

    From the fabled city of Palmyra comes this bust, another World War I trophy, and it is of Hagar that refers to a famous story according to which Muslims believe that Hagar (Arabic Hajar), mother of all future Arabs, finds water in a well miraculously provided by Gibreel. Her quest is ritually reenacted by all those who go on the Hejira to Mecca, where the well is now enclosed by the Haram, the grand mosque. Her son Ismail (Ishmael) is considered the ancestor of all Arabs.

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  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    "G" for George

    by iandsmith Written Sep 17, 2005

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    This famous World War II bomber flew three tours of duty, 90 sorties, and thus became famous for doing that alone. Most didn't even make the first thirty.
    All the original markings are still on it and they currently have an excellent light and sound show that simulates, to some degree, what it must have been like during a bombing raid. Frankly, I thought the sound effects must have been pretty close to reality.
    The markings on the side also indicate when new captains took over.

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  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    More mosaic

    by iandsmith Written Sep 17, 2005

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    More detail

    How fortunate for the world that one of the soldiers of the light horse of the Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division who came across it in 1917 during the second battle of Gaza was an amateur archaeologist otherwise we wouldn't have this wonderful piece preserved and protected from further harm where future generations will be able to enjoy it.

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  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    The Shellal Mosaic

    by iandsmith Updated Sep 17, 2005

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    Part of the mosaic

    About the last thing you'd expect to find in a war museum is a floor mosaic from historical times. I, for one, was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled across the Shellal Mosaic that was originally housed in a Palestinian chapel.
    The Hellenistic style of the vine trellis has pagan connotations. The full symmetry of design, detailed tonality of the animals create realistic 3 dimensional aspects of them. For me I was immediately reminded of the superb, virtually intact example at Aquileia in northern Italy.
    You can also see the merging of styles with the Hellenistic vine linking to the Roman isometric border and the symmetry being very Gazaean in design.
    When it comes to the Christian ideals of the floor piece it is obvious that the architecture of the church was extremely basic and primitive, with a simple rectangular floor and no presence of an apse. The only clue to where the altar may have been is the journey, one might say, of the central links of vines that symbolise traditional offerings, leading from one small crucifix cross to the top one where the altar may have been.
    At the top there is an inscription that says:
    "this temple with rich mosaics did decorate our most holy bishop...and the most Pious George, priest and sacristan, in the year 622 according to the era of Gaza, In the tenth year of the indication".
    An art historian by the name of Henderson has interpreted it as an allegory of salvation:
    The Vine is Christ as well as the Tree of Life that shelters all of god's creatures, and each animal represents either a virtue or aspect of humanity such as the Peacock (resurrection and eternal life). Down the centre, the subjects that arent of wildlife each have thier own meaning. The Amphora is the water of life with the unconsecrated water being in the west (at the bottom of the mosaic) and the baptismal or holy water being in the ast (at the top before the altar).

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