We live in relatively peaceful times and there are relatively few among us who have had to live through an armed conflict. The oft-quoted saying, attributed to Winston Churchill, that "those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it" is reason enough for us all to learn about our the past. While we may have learned, at school, about the more significant moments in our nation's history, the following are museums where we might glean a little understanding of the impact of war on the Western Australians who lived through these wars.
National ANZAC Centre - Princess Royal Fortress Military Museum
The National ANZAC Centre, located at 67 Forts Rd, Mount Clarence in Albany, was officially opened in 2014, on the centenary of the commencement of the First World War. The Centre is operated in conjunction with the Princess Royal Fortress Military Museum. The Centre's location is historically significant - it overlooks the harbour from where over 41,000 Australians departed our Nation for the Great War. There is a strong emphasis on the personal stories of the ANZACs told through personal artefacts, technology and multimedia.
There is also an opportunity to experience the Field of Light immersive art installation by Bruce Munroe until April 2019.
Click here for the National ANZAC Centre's website.
Army Museum of Western Australia
The Army Museum of Western Australia is a museum within the Australian Army History Unit network. Located at Burt Street in Fremantle, this museum has a good collection of items, well organised into a series of galleries relating to military history from pre-Federation to modern conflicts and peacetime missions. There is also a range of tanks and other military vehicles on display outdoors.
Click here for the Army Museum of Western Australia's website.
HMAS Ovens - Maritime Museum
HMAS Ovens is an Oberon class Submarine and an authentic Cold War-era vessel. The submarine is a long term exhibit at the WA Maritime Museum located at Victoria Quay, Peter Hughes Drive, Fremantle. The guided tour is informative and interesting; giving guests some insight to life onboard the submarine.
Don't forget to visit the Naval Defence section of the WA Maritime Museum which features a World War One Tenix AE2 submarine conning tower.
The Leighton Battery Heritage Site is located at Buckland Hill, Boundary Road, Mosman Park, which makes it an ideal stop on the way back to Perth from the Army Museum and/or the Maritime Museum. Initially used as an observation Point for gun batteries, Buckland Hill served as a signal station for the Navy during the First World War. During the Second World War, guns from Fort Arthur Head were relocated to Buckland Hill. Tunnels were constructed to house ammunition, communications, and observation posts.
Located on the Air Force Memorial Estate, Bull Creek Drive, Bullcreek, the Aviation Museum covers both civilian and military aviation history. Military aircraft on display include the Avro Lancaster, Bell UH-1H Iroquois (see photo above), Spitfire, Vampire and Wirraway CA-5 to name a few. A special tour of the Lancaster is also available.
Housed in a Second World War army vehicle workshop, this museum features the 10th Light Horse collection dedicated to World War I hero Joseph William Spillman, a Dingo scout car, a Stuart tank, a Bren-gun carrier, various army vehicles and other war memorabilia.
Situated at 28 Allenby Street, Koorda, the museum has war memorabilia from the Boer War through to Afghanistan. Although unrelated to military history, there are also a number of muscle cars on display.
The museum, located next to the water tower on Great Eastern Highway, Merredin, displays memorabilia and machinery relating to wars and conflicts commencing with the Great War.
Birdwood Military Museum
Amongst Geraldton's Birdwood Military Museum's collection are artefacts made from artillery shells, a handmade periscope gun used at Gallipoli and a Spandau gun used in the First World War.
Miniature Solider Museum
This museum is a little different from the others and its displays are not confined to conflicts which involved Australia. Nonetheless, this is an interesting museum which provides an opportunity to enjoy more than 10,000 miniature soldiers, tanks and guns covering the Napoleonic War, the American Civil War, the Zulu War, the Pacific War, the Russian War, and both World Wars.
ANZAC Cottage was built by the Mount Hawthorn community to serve as a home for returned wounded soldier Private Cuthbert John Porter and his family. It also served as a memorial for those who lost their lives at Gallipoli during the Great War. Located at 38 Kalgoorlie Street in Mount Hawthorn, Anzac Cottage is open to the public on the first Sunday of each month from 1pm to 4pm.