Sunday 5th October, Australian War Memorial
A memorial, a museum and a commemoration of the Australian armed forces from their very early days as a colonial force, part of the British empire forces, through both world wars and on into the modern conflicts and peace keeping roles.
As with so much in Canberra, the war memorial has been given the space to fulfill its role completely. Space to properly commemorate those that have paid the ultimate price as well as to provide an explanation of the work the armed forces undertake and the role they play, and have played, in the defense of both Australia and the world.
Constructed in an elevated position across the lake from Parliament House, the great dome topped building, housing the tomb of the unknown soldier, can be seen from far and wide.
On entering the monument you go up some steps and out into the sunshine where all the lost are named and then on into the great high building which houses the tomb. Below is the museum. The display halls are so large that one has a complete Lancaster bomber on display as well as 5 or 6 other complete aircraft. In another there is a complete mini submarine, made up of parts from the three Japanese craft which attacked Sydney harbour during World War II.
There were a number of elements which stuck in my mind. A centrally positioned display listing all of the Australian personnel to have been awarded the Victoria Cross and Victoria Cross of Australia, complete with their picture and story. As you would expect a number are very moving; it never ceases to amaze me what some people are able to do in order to protect their comrades.
Another was throughout the museum there were the stories of ordinary service men and women set out in a way that made the displays around you so real.
My visit ended with the memorials Last Post Ceremony. A very moving reminder of what the whole place was all about.
I had been told by a number of people that the Australian War Memorial would take up the entire day. It did and some. An amazing place to visit; another Canberra “must see”!