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Australian War Memorial and Museum

Home > Canberra > ANZAC Day | Australia Day | Disabled Friendly | Exhibitions | Memorials
by Emilie Jayne (subscribe)
Just a city girl who dreams of dusty trails and endless oceans.
Published August 4th 2017
Learn about Australian history at the War Memorial
The Australian War Memorial is Canberra's biggest drawcard. It serves as a collective memory of all those Australians lost during war, as a record of Australian history, and as a celebration of architecture. It is worth making a detour to the ACT just to see the Capital's testament to Australian lives taken during wartime. Located in the heart of Canberra at the top of Anzac Parade, this national site of military commemoration overlooks the carefully designed, political heart of Australia.

Australian War Memorial
The courtyard of the Australian War Memorial

If you are planning to visit the memorial, you will need an entire day to wander the beautiful courtyard, to take in all the history among the collections, and to maybe contribute a moment of silence during a service. While the memorial itself is free, a gold coin donation will get you a red poppy and is highly encouraged. The memorial itself is beautifully designed to commemorate every life lost during every conflict Australia has taken part in. As a result, the walls lining the courtyard list each soldier by name (known as the Roll of Honour) and a vault at the end commemorates those who still remain unidentified with a memorial to the unamed soldiers. Most visitors choose to allocate their poppy to a soldier's name out of respect. We chose to lay ours in the Hall of Memory. It is in this peaceful courtyard that services are held regularly for the fallen and their families.

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
The Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial

The ground and upstairs floors are home to the vast collection of historical items, weapons, memorabilia and information that the memorial has amassed over the years. These are separated into halls depicting the various conflicts and eras. Located behind the Hall of Memory is ANZAC hall, home to various historical aircrafts. On the lower level you will find a research centre and discovery zone, giving a hands on approach to our history. If you are interested in the role your ancestors had in a conflict, it is here that you will find information and guidance for your research. This is also home to the Afghanistan and post-1945 sections, plus a couple of exhibition galleries. It is worth keeping an eye on the changing exhibitions.

Australian War Memorial Aeroplane
One of the many exhibits at the Australian War Memorial

On the ground level, the First World War and Second World War halls are packed with informative and emotion-stirring memorabilia. Perhaps most evocative are the blood-soaked diaries, uniforms and letters of men who never made it home. You will also find old weapons, dioramas, and friendly docents happy to answer any question you may have. Make sure you take advantage of the free tours taking place regularly throughout the day.

Australian War Memorial Borneo
Photos of the prisoners of war taken in Borneo

In the well-manicured grounds you will find several cafes, the parade ground and a sculpture garden. It is here you will also find access to and from the underground carpark. Other parking is available on the street, or in several carparks accessed via Treloar Crescent. There is regular public transport, and plenty of bicycle racks. The memorial is wheelchair and pram friendly, and open every day of the year (except Christmas Day) from 10am to 5pm. They start closing at 4.40pm, and if you hang around you will be asked to take part in the daily Last Post Ceremony. If you have any more questions or would like to find out more about visiting the Australian War Memorial. be sure to visit their informative website here.

Australian War Memorial Service
A service taking place at the Australian War Memorial
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Why? To remember the fallen
When: Every day of the year except Christmas Day
Phone: (02) 6243 4211
Where: Canberra
Cost: Gold coin donation
Your Comment
Haven't seen this museum in many years, great article!
by Kate Blake (score: 3|1423) 1261 days ago
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