Written by Brooke Wilson
With ANZAC Day fast approaching, it is a time of reflection and honouring those who have fought for
our country, so it only seems right to approach this piece with a commemorative nature.
For any patriotic Australian, it is a rite of passage to journey to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
First opened in 1941 to honour our armed forces, the memorial is made up of three sections – the Commemorative Area, the Memorial Galleries, and the Research Centre.
From the moment you walk up the front steps, through the entry foyer, and into the Commemorative Courtyard, you will be overwhelmed and humbled by the sheer magnitude of the Rolls of Honour flanking both sides of the courtyard.
Set in bronze plating, the Rolls of Honour have over a hundred thousand names of soldiers since 1885 who have died serving their country in war.
Many visitors insert poppies into the wall next to the names of those significant to them.
Set in the centre of the courtyard lies the Eternal Flame and the Pool of Reflection, both designed to encourage a contemplative atmosphere.
Directly ahead as you walk in, and impossible to miss, is the Hall of Memory, a monumental structure positioned at the end of the courtyard. Topped by a dome of copper, it houses the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier, as a reminder of those the nation has lost to war.
Further inside the building, you will find the galleries and museum area, with sections dedicated to World War I, World War II, Colonial Conflicts, and more.
Each gallery depicts Australia’s involvement in these conflicts, from their campaigns, to what it was like on the front line, to the equipment and machinery used.
Visitors to the memorial can also choose to trace their family history and ancestors at the Research Centre. It is a dedicated facility to assist research by providing access to non-digitised materials.
The memorial backs onto the Mount Ainslie Nature Reserve, which is home to the Remembrance Nature Park and the Mount Ainslie Lookout. Those looking for a little different perspective, from the summit you can look back down over the memorial, and all the way to Parliament House.
Considered Canberra’s number one attraction for a reason, the Australian War Memorial as a place of reflection and remembrance is definitely a must do for anyone visiting the country’s capital.