Australia’s national memorial to members of the armed forces is located in the north of Canberra. Poignant and moving, the memorial is made up of a Commemorative Area, a museum and gardens, plus a Research Centre which helps people trace what happened to relatives lost during the war. The Australian War Memorial is free to visit and has become an iconic part of the capital city.
The Commemorative Area encompasses a shrine to those killed during the battle along with the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier. A Hall of Memory contains tens of thousands of names engraved in stone, while the Memorial’s galleries recount the various wars that Australian and foreign soldiers have fought in. Every day, other than Christmas Day, the Memorial is closed with a resonant Last Post Ceremony. The closing ceremony includes a piper and bugler playing Flowers of the Forest, then continues by a member of the Australian Defence Force reading out the tale of one of the over 100,000 names on the Roll of Honour. The ceremony concludes by the piper playing the Last Post, a tradition common across war memorials around the world.
The memorial is located on Treloar Crescent in Campbell, and there is a regular bus service from Canberra City Centre. There is a large outdoor car park plus an underground car park on Fairbairn Avenue. Visitors enter through the main entrance and the Orientation Gallery, where there is an information desk with maps and tour information. The free tours are operated by volunteers and range in length from 60 to 90 minutes, and some have a distinctive focus such as post-1945 or World War I. Admission to the memorial is free, and there are two cafes.
The Australian War Memorial originally grew out of its research centre. Back in 1917, a small building was established to preserve all the records relating to World War I. Rather poignantly, a new and expanded War Memorial building was completed in 1941, during World War II.