Photography obsessed writer and urban explorer. Lover of nature, art and long weekends. Adelaide, South Australia.
Published March 7th 2015
Australia's First Military Cemetery
Adelaide is a city of many firsts. We were the first free state in the colony of Australia, established the first police force in the country, opened the first agricultural school and South Australia was the first to legislate womens rights to vote and stand for parliament.
Adelaide's West Terrace Cemetery is also the first cemetery in Australia to dedicate an area of cemetery land to our returned soldiers.
A "Soldiers Lot" was sought by the Minister in 1920, just 2 years after the end of World War One. There were many returned servicemen and women who, without family or loved ones, were being buried in unmarked graves.
A monument was built and half an acre of land was set aside for graves. The first burial was in March 1920 and the area was dedicated in December 1922.
That half acre block now covers 4 acres and there are now 4155 service men and women buried there. This number includes 4 Victoria Cross recipients:
There's so much information and so many amazing and incredible stories about the people buried there that you'll have to book in for yourself and hear them all.
The graves area is surrounded by a hedge, a part of which contains a seedling related to the original Lone Pine in Gallipoli. Located centrally in the area is The Cross of Sacrifice, the first of its kind to be erected in an Australian cemetery. It was gifted by the Federal Government of the day.
Guided tours of the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) Cemetery are run by volunteer tour guides and begin for the first time on April 19th 2015. For more information, or to book a spot, contact the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority.
If you'd rather, you can do a self-guided tour. The cemetery is open 7 days a week during daylight hours. There are maps and interactive storyboards at the main entrance.
The AIF section is located in the south west corner of West Terrace Cemetery.
There are many other interesting and fact-filled tours that are run by experienced and knowledgeable tour guides. Check them out and book into a couple of them. You never know what you'll learn.