New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published October 7th 2015
An self guided walk through our wartime past
Anzac Parade is the iconic red gravel parade leading up to the Australian War Memorial. Along both sides of the parade is a walkway to visit the 11 Memorials of wars that Australia and New Zealand have participated in, side by side. It is flat level, 2.5km self guided walk up one side of the parade and back down the other that is sure to move you.
Looking up Anzac Parade to the Australian War Memorial. The red gravel is made from crushed red bricks from Canberra homes and meant to replicate the crunch of military boots in a parade. The planter boxes are full of New Zealand Hebe shrubs.
I have often driven up ANZAC parade and not been aware of the two "basket handle" memorials either side of the entrance to the parade which is The New Zealand Memorial. These are a present to Australia from New Zealand. The words from a Maori proverb, 'Each of us at a handle of the basket' (Mau tena kiwai o te kete, maku tenei), expresses the unique co-operative relationship between the two countries, especially in wartime.
As you continue up the left hand side of the parade towards the War Memorial, you will see the Desert Mounted Corps Memorial, which symbolises the partnership and friendship in the word 'ANZAC', and is the last to portray 'Diggers' in action on horseback.
Next is the Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial. This Memorial is dedicated to all those Australians who served in Vietnam from 1962 to 1973. You can walk inside to view the "wall of words" written by soldiers in wartime and look up to the granite ring containing a scroll with all the names of those Australians who died in the conflict.
It is easy to spend some time here reading the wall, the plaques and taking in the scale of this memorial.
The Australian National Korean War Memorial commemorates the 339 Australians who died and honours those who served in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. When I was there, a wreath of flowers had been placed in front of the boulder inside the memorial, which came from a Korean battlefield.
The Australian Army National Memorial is dedicated to the 'Diggers' of the Australian Army who fought on the African Veldt, in the trenches of France, in the Western Desert and in the jungles of the Pacific and South East Asia. The sculpture is entitled 'Every Mother's Son'.
At the end of the left hand side you will find the Australian Hellenic Memorial, where one combined Australian and New Zealand Army Corps formed during World War II and fought in Greece together. It is recommended that this memorial should be entered into from the back, as if entering an amphitheatre.
Cross to road to continue on with this solemn walk. On the other side of the road you will find the Kamel Ataturk Memorial which was part of an agreement by the Australian and Turkish governments on to acknowledge the 70th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing. Surrounding the Memorial are pine trees grown from seed collected from the Gallipoli 'lone pine'.
Next is the 8 metres high bronze statues of The Royal Australian Navy Memorial. The sculpture itself expresses the constant vigilance and preparedness required of Navy personnel and is dedicated to past and present navy servicemen and women.
The Australian Service Nurses National Memorial commemorates those Australian Service Nurses who died, and honours those nurses who served and suffered in war since 1899. Artist Robin Moorehouse was inspired by stories about dying soldiers in World War I and how they had wanted to be held by nurses before their death. The two curving lines of the memorial is based on the female form because of this.
The Rats of Tobruk Memorial commemorates the historic World War II siege of Tobruk, Libya, from April to December 1941. A time capsule was placed in the step below the marble stone on 17 April 1991, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the siege.
There are two spaces left along the parade for two memorials yet to come. One will be The Australian Peacekeeping Memorial and the other will be The National Boer War Memorial.
To ensure accuracy of these sensitive memorials, this article has been written with the help of the National Capital Authority Self Guided Walking Tour information brochure. If you are taking this walk, I recommend you print it out and take it with you. If you follow the tour in the brochure it starts at the War Memorial end, so park your car there and walk down. See here for printable brochure.
It is moving, interesting and thought-provoking in many ways. Since taking this walk I have found myself reflecting on things that I have learnt and how it has made me feel.
It is a walk back into Australia's history that is sure to move you.