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 (left)
    Menin Gate Lion (left)
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  • Menin Gate Lion (right)
    Menin Gate Lion (right)
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    Australian National Korean War Memorial

    by wabat Written Feb 22, 2013

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    Australian National Korean War Memorial
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    A plaque within the memorial provides a brief history of the Korean War and Australia’s involvement there-in. I reproduce that in full here for the interest of readers of this page.

    The Korean War was the first occasion that members of the United Nations acted collectively to repel aggression. Australian units served in combat from 1950 to 1953 and continued in Korea from the armistice to 1957 as part of the United Nations Command to preserve the independence of the
    Republic of Korea.

    From September 1950, and following the amphibious landing at Inchon and the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter, the multinational force cleared South Korea and advanced into North Korea towards the border with China. In November 1950 after the Chinese entry to the war, the UN ground forces
    faced Chinese offences which forced them to retreat in appalling winter conditions to positions
    south of the 38th parallel.

    With a continuous front from sea to sea, the dramatic advances and withdrawals of the first six
    months came to an end. After early 1951 offensives and counter offensives the war entered a phase of contesting heavily defended emplacements along the front which eventually became the cease fire line. Despite the first initiatives in 1951 to end the war it dragged on until 27 July 1953 when an
    armistice was signed.

    From 29 June 1950 to 27 July 1953, some 17000 Australian sailors, soldiers and airmen served in the Korean War. Australian casualties were 339 killed, 1216 wounded and 29 prisoners of war. Twenty
    other countries contributed combat and medical units to the United Nations command in Korea.

    Australian sailors, soldiers and airmen won world respect for their courage, endurance and combat
    skills. The service of a small group of Australians in the years 1950 to 1953, and the sacrifice of those who did not return are not forgotten.

    This memorial commemorates the 339 Australians
 who died and honours those who served in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953.

    The boulder forming the focal point of the memorial is from a Korean battlefield and the word in Korean script translates as ‘Peace and Independence’. Those who died and have no known grave are commemorated by the obelisk while the two fields of poles symbolise those Australians who died with the three figures representing sailors, soldiers and airmen who served in Korea. The use of white and gray and granite and gravel and cold steel recall the harsh climate and terrain of Korea.

    Sculptor, Les Kossatz and the architectural firm, Daryl Jackson Pty Ltd. designed the
    memorial to a statement of requirements by the Australian National Korean War Memorial
    Committee.

    The Memorial was dedicated on 18th April 2000 in the presence of Governor General, Sir William Deane and Prime Minister John Howard. His Excellency Kim Dae-Jung, President of the Republic of Korea attended a ground breaking ceremony in 1999.

    I find this monument a very poignant reminder of a war that at least legally continues to this day - the 1953 armistice has never been converted to a declaration to end the war.

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    New Zealand Memorial

    by wabat Written Feb 23, 2013

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    New Zealand Memorial - Australia Side
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    This memorial, located at the southern most end of Anzac Parade at the intersection of ANZAC Parade and Constitution Avenue, is in two parts – two bronze "basket handles" one on each side of the Parade.

    The two kete or basket handles express the historic shared effort between Australia and New Zealand to achieve common goals in both peace and war, and to acknowledge the courage and sacrifice of service men and women who served shoulder-to-shoulder (the ANZAC spirit forged on the beaches and hills of Gallipoli) on foreign soil.

    The words from a Maori proverb inscribed on both parts of the memorial, ‘Each of us at a handle of the basket’ (Mau tena kiwai
o te kete, maku tenei), express this unique co-operative relationship between the two countries, especially in wartime.

    
The pavement (in reds and browns of the Australian landscape) on the Australian side (west) of the Memorial was designed by the Indigenous artist Daisy Nadjundanga from Maningrida Arts and Crafts, Arnhem Land, in association with Sydney-based Urban Art Projects while that on the New Zealand side (in green, black and white, the colours of the New Zealand landscape – stones actually from New Zealand) was designed by artists Allen Wihongi and Toi Te Rito Maihi.

    At the centre of the paving on each side is buried soil from Gallipoli, Turkey. the birthplace of the ANZAC tradition as soldiers fought together in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in 1915.

    While not generally known for my love of poetry I do like the poem by Jenny Bornholdt which is inscribed on a bronze 'boulder' under the arch on each side.

    This sea we cross over
    and over. Tides turning on
    gold and sheep. On rain. On sand.
    On earth the fallen lie
    beneath. On geography. On
    women standing. On peoples of
    gardens and movement.
    On trade and union.
    This sea a bridge
    of faith. This sea we are
    contained and
    moved by.

    The memorial was dedicated on 24 April 2001 by the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand, John Howard and Helen Clark.

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    Royal Australian Air Force Memorial

    by wabat Written Feb 23, 2013

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    Royal Australian Air Force Memorial
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    This memorial to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) honours the service and sacrifice of the men and women who have served in the RAAF and its predecessor, the Australian Flying Corps.

    The original memorial was unveiled by HRH Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh in his role as Marshal of the RAAF in 1973 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the formation of the RAAF. 
The main sculpture by Inge King comprises three large stainless steel panels reminiscent of aircraft wings and representing the endurance, strength and courage of RAAF personnel, rise vertically from the base with a bronze flight sculpture in the centre embodying man's struggle to conquer the elements. The inscription on the front of the memorial per ardua ad astra is the RAAF motto meaning "through adversity to the stars".

    The memorial was extended in 2002 through the addition of three polished granite walls at the rear depicting major war scenes from 1915 to the present. 
 Personally I don’t think the additions enhanced the memorial which I now find to be the least aesthetically pleasing of those on Anzac Parade. This does not, of course, lessen its role as a tribute to valiant RAAF members.

    The RAAF was established in 1921—just three years after the (British) Royal Air Force. Australian pilots were on active service in 1914 in New Guinea, and in 1915 the Australian Flying Corps was fighting in Mesopotamia (Iraq). By 1918, squadrons were also in action on the Western Front in France. During World War II the RAAF served with distinction in the Middle East, Britain and the Pacific. The RAAF also served in the Malayan, Korean and Vietnam conflicts and, more recently, RAAF personnel have served in the Gulf War, East Timor and numerous peacekeeping operations.

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    Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial

    by wabat Written Feb 23, 2013

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    Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial
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    One of the veteran quotations on this memorial reads:

    WHAT WE DID ON THE BATTLEFIELD IN THE MORNING WAS ON OUR LIVING ROOM TV SCREENS THAT NIGHT

    This is the first war in history that had round the clock, shot by shot media coverage. War literally was in everyone’s living room every night. Was it worse than any other war that had gone before? I don't know but I suspect not, the difference is that civilians thousands of miles away saw it and they didn’t like it. I won’t continue in this vain.

    The purpose of this tip (as with all my tips on the ANZAC Parade memorials) is to present the official facts, describe the memorials and let readers contemplate and reach there own conclusions. The bottom line is that people died and were wounded (often horrifically). It is fair to presume that no one joined the forces expecting to, or hoping to die, but die they did and we remember them. Those conscripted had no choice.

    Whether or not Australia should have been in Vietnam (or any other war) is a subject for debate. Elected politicians in Australia decide – not the military.

    This Memorial is dedicated to all those Australians who served in Vietnam from 1962 to 1973. In this period 50,000 Australians served in South Vietnam as part of a composite, predominantly American, force.

    A design completion won by architect Peter Tonkin and sculptor Ken Unsworth sought a memorial which expressed 'the link between the Australian Vietnam Forces and the original ANZAC Force' and also represented 'the controversy at home'. As in the USA, this was not a “popular “ war on the home front.

    Suspended from three stelae and forming the centrepiece of the memorial is a granite ring or halo symbolising the spirits of the dead being lifted from the earth. Sealed within one of the stones of the ring is a scroll bearing the names of the 508 Australians who died in the conflict. Surrounding the memorial are six seats dedicated to the memory of the six Australian servicemen missing in action.

    On the inner face of the western stelae is a larger than life representation of members of the 7th Royal Australian Regiment being airlifted by U.S. helicopters from the fishing village of Lang Phuoc Hai – a typical image from the war. On the northern stelae is a series of veteran quotations (one of which I have used above) in stainless steel lettering - slang of the war. The inner wall of the southern stelae is unadorned concrete and functions as a site for personal contemplation.

    Surrounding the whole site and forming a frame-like canopy are numerous blue gums. Light is filtered through this canopy so that there is a continuous display of shimmering, flickering light and shadow on the external walls of the memorial.

    The Memorial was dedicated on 3 October 1992, the fifth anniversary of the Welcome Home Parade for Vietnam Veterans. Vietnam Veterans’ Remembrance Day is celebrated each year on 18 August, the anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan in which Australia suffered 17 casualties from 108 combatants. This was thought to be a humiliating defeat until the next day when it become clear that the 108 Australian D Company troops had confronted some 2500 enemy troops of which 245 were killed. D Company became only the second Army unit in Australian military history to be awarded a United States Presidential Unit Citation.

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    War Memorial - getting personal

    by iandsmith Updated Apr 8, 2010

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    A place to die, diorama of battlefield at Ypres

    I never knew the man, only his wife and his son. At the age of 35 he found himself in the god forsaken mud that was the battlefield at Ypres. He had travelled from South Australia and married Bathia and they lived at Wilberforce to the west of Sydney on a farm.
    By all accounts it was a happy existence until the war intervened. On the way over he had written home on the leaves from pussy willow trees. Echoes from the past that resonate still from a shelf in my study room. Heart rending epithets such as "To Bessie from W. My thoughts are always of you and Tom"; "There are some nice places but none so nice as home"; "To Bessie from W. far across the sea"; "From A55 to Kelmont, where would I rather be?". I find it a bit gut-wrenching reading them now.
    Thus it was that these are the last pieces of tangible evidence of his existence. On the 4th October, 1917, along with many others, he was blown to smithereens by shellfire defending a country halfway round the world that he probably hardly knew existed. Two thirds who died did so by shellfire in that conflict........and for what? To placate a few male egos? Such were the times. And what have we learnt from them?
    My father, his son, also joined the services and served in the Second World War in New Guinea and stayed in the R.A.A.F. till his retirement. I served for one year in my youth, falling short of the standard required for an armament fitter and luckily getting out. My sons are anti war, no doubt influenced to some degree by their father.
    As one gets older one's roots seem to take on a significance not apparent in one's younger days and so it was that I made a pilgrimage to the War Memorial basement level to find out where my grandfather might be commemorated. It turns out there's a plaque on the Menin Gate at the town of Ieper (formerly Ypres) in Belgium. It was a teary-eyed moment for me to find that out and the rest of my time in the War Memorial I seemed to be burdened with that information, unable to take in some of the exhibits as I might have.
    It ultimately led me to going to Ypres (see Brugge pages) and seeing and learning things that were appalling. May we live in peace.

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    The long road

    by iandsmith Updated Sep 16, 2005

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    Maritime on land

    On the broad avenue called Anzac, THE most memorable street in Canberra, there are memorials placed dedicated to areas of conflict participated in by Australians. It is the grandest street in Australia, its width alone demanding your attention but the layout on the sides amplifying that attention.
    This particular piece is in memory of those who served in the maritime areas and it seemed a little incongruous to me stuck amid the classic gum trees, very few of which have ever been to sea.
    The chiselled edges and sombre colours seem to typify war statues, possibly alluding to a formidable comradeship and solid appearance of them as a foe. Sometimes, for me, the heroism displayed by many tries to paper over the cracks of those who will never return.

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    Who wanted it anyway?

    by iandsmith Updated Sep 17, 2005

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    A powerful reminder

    This is another of the roadside reminders, this time about Vietnam, the war that no-one wanted to know about after it was over. Thus it was that thousands were subjected to the horrors of war and came home to a nation that hardly cared. It was little wonder that so many were traumatised by the experience.
    It was sad that the nation almost ignored their plight. In fact, it was too late for some who took their own final solution.
    However, while we might try to disown the political folly of the action, we should try and care for those who, in many cases, were unwitting victims of the call-up. This encompassing sculpture goes some way to acknowledging their sacrifice.

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    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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    "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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    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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    THE HALL OF MEMORY…..PART 2

    by balhannah Updated Sep 7, 2010

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    Mosaic dome
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    THE AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL................
    It would be a shame if you missed out on the “Hall of Memory.”
    This magnificent building can be found at the end of the “Pool of Reflection.”

    Inside on the walls are beautiful Mosaics and the Stained glassed windows are beautiful. These were designed by an Australian artist, Napier Walter.

    The Mosaics were completed in 1958, and consist of over 6 million tesserae imported from Italy. There is a symbolic meaning attached to each element of the design.
    The stunning mosaic in the dome, is divided into 7 segments, representing Australia’s 7 pointed federal star.

    The open hands symbolize the earth giving up the souls of the dead, who rise in the form of winged sarcopahagi towards the sun, the symbol of eternal life. The circular cornice incorporates such Australian motifs as wattle leaves and black swans, and an unbroken gold chain, symbolizing continuity.

    The stained glass windows have meaning too. Each of the 15 panels in the three stained glass windows portrays an Australian in the uniform and equipment of WW1.

    The south window depicts PERSONAL QUALITIES

    The west window depicts SOCIAL QUALITIES

    The east window depicts FIGHTING QUALITIES

    This hall is magnificent, a place to stand and admire, and to reflect.

    Please remember to be quiet, and to keep children under control. You are allowed to take photos.

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    ANZAC HALL

    by balhannah Updated Sep 6, 2010

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    Lancaster bomber in the sound & light show

    ANZAC HALL, another fantastic exhibition showcasing large objects from the war years and using sound and light to tell compelling stories of Australia’s servicemen and women.
    A lot is a permanent exhibition..... showcasing the Great war in the air, the stories of military flight and aerial combat during the First World War.

    There is a stunning re-creation of a night operation over Berlin in 1943, featuring the famous Lancaster bomber "G for George". This exhibition, called "Striking by night," tells of the exploits and experiences of the people, from both sides, who lived through the bombing offensive.

    Of particular interest is the famous midget submarine, assembled from sections of two of the three submarines that raided Sydney in 1942, this area also had an excellent sound and light show.

    Just a little bit about the Sub................and how lucky Sydney and Australia was..............there could have been a very different outcome.

    The remains were only discovered in 2006, by some divers off Sydney's northern beaches.

    On the night of 31 May 1942 three Japanese midget submarines entered Sydney harbour. One became entangled in the boom net across the harbour, and her occupants blew her up. A second entered the harbour and fired torpedoes at the cruiser USS Chicago. They missed the Chicago but one hit the barracks ship HMAS Kuttabul, killing 21.
    This midget submarine disappeared, its fate a complete mystery.
    A third midget submarine also entered the harbour but was destroyed by depth-charges before it had fired any torpedoes.

    The submarine in the Memorial's collection is a composite of two that entered the harbour.

    A MUST VISIT IN THE WAR MEMORIAL

    ENTRY to the War Memorial is FREE, but please give a donation to keep it running,

    IT IS A WORLD CLASS MUSEUM

    Open 10 -5 pm Daily

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    Africa remembered

    by iandsmith Written Sep 17, 2005

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    Rats of Tobruk sentinel

    This is to remind us about the Rats of Tobruk, so called because of an epic struggle against great odds during the Second World War. Bunkered down and resisting the Axis onslaught, the troops carved a niche for themselves and their country on the international scene.

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    The tank

    by iandsmith Written Sep 17, 2005

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    Camouflaged Renault

    The original lumbering giant, with its twin turrets on the side, was a monster that weighed 28 tons and carried a crew of 8. Since its British inventors wanted to keep it a secret until it was ready they told people that it was a water tank, hence the name.
    Sadly, it had one inherent flaw. Whilst making its way through, say, the sodden fields of Flanders, it had a tendency to sink in the mud. Not good for mobility.
    Enter the French option, a Renault FT17 light tank crewed by only two men and a forerunner of the modern style. Bedecked in its natty colouring (did that really camouflage it?) it debuted with limited success late in World War I.

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    Australian War Museum

    by iandsmith Updated Jul 29, 2006

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    A brooding sombre reminder of conflicts past.
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    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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