There is a lot of history to be found in NSW. Some of the most amazing places to start are the war memorials. Our team recently visited two of the best and have documented their thoughts.
The Australian War Memorial
The Australian War Memorial in Canberra was voted the number one landmark in Australia by travellers in the 2016 Trip Advisor awards. It is not hard to see why.
The Australian War Memorial combines a shrine, a world-class museum, and an extensive archive. The Memorial's purpose is to commemorate the sacrifice of those Australians who have died in war. Its mission is to assist Australians to remember, interpret and understand the Australian experience of war and its enduring impact on Australian society. It does just that. Whether you have a few hours or a whole day, you’ll discover the diverse Australian experiences of war and connect with the stories of the people and events that shaped Australia. From guided tours to sound-and-light shows, special exhibitions, and the moving Last Post Ceremony, there is something for everyone to explore at the Australian War Memorial.
The Memorial's exhibitions include permanent gallery spaces covering Australia's involvement in each major conflict, and temporary exhibitions that explore other various aspects of our military history. Current exhibitions include ‘Kokoda and Milne Bay 75th Anniversary’, ‘For Country, For Nation’ which presents a diverse range of art, objects, photographs and stories from across Australia and ‘Colonial Conflicts’ telling of Australia’s early military history from European settlement to the end of the Boer War.
Memorial Director Dr Brendan Nelson said, “When people visit the Australian War Memorial they come expecting the story of Australians at war. What they often leave with, however, is a deeper understanding of Australia as a nation...There is much, much more here than war; it’s a place of love and friendship.”
No visit to the War Memorial is complete without exploration of the Commemorative Courtyard, the Hall of Valour and the Dioramas. The Hall of Memory is the heart of the War Memorial and can only be reached by walking past the Roll of Honour. Inside, you will find the Tomb of the Unknown Australian soldier.
The Australian War Memorial is open 10am – 5pm daily and is only closed on Christmas Day. The Memorial is located at the top of Anzac Parade, mere minutes from the city centre. 30, 60 and 90 minutes tours are available. There are new talks, tours, activities and events on every month. Entry is free.
The ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park
The Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney is another must-visit memorial. The Anzac Memorial was created by the people of New South Wales as a place to remember the impact of the Great War (1914 – 1918). It is dedicated to the remembrance of Australians who have served in war.
The Anzac Memorial continues to be an important commemorative site for the people of NSW. Significant events and ceremonies are held at the Memorial throughout the year. A daily service of remembrance is held at 11am in recognition of the hour, on 11 November 1918, at which the guns fell silent on the Western Front effectively ending the Great War.
Since opening, the Memorial has acquired a large collection of artefacts related to NSW and Australia’s military history. The artefacts tell the story of toil and sacrifice for every individual affected by war. They include a wide range of material, from film and oral history to works of art, large objects, and personal letters and diaries. There are a number of ways to discover and learn about the Anzac Memorial. Customised tours for individuals and groups with specific needs can be arranged.
See the Flame Room, the Hall of Silence, the Pool of Reflection, the Dome of Stars and the main feature of the Anzac Memorial, the Hall of Memory, a grand, circular room which is guaranteed to leave you impressed.
As Australia marks the 100th anniversary of the First World War, the NSW Government is enhancing the Anzac Memorial. The ‘Centenary Project’ will be the enduring legacy of NSW commemorations. It will realise the vision of the original architect, Bruce Dellit, and introduce new spaces. The Centenary Project will allow the Memorial to tell the stories of NSW’s involvement in all wars and peace-keeping missions and honour those who have served. To be completed as the Centenary of Anzac draws to a close, the Centenary Project will be a respectful addition to the Anzac Memorial, and introduce stunning new features which will serve to enhance the Memorial’s reputation as a New South Wales landmark.
The Memorial is open every day, except Good Friday and Christmas Day, from 9.00am to 5.00pm. The Anzac Memorial is located within Hyde Park South. The closest cross streets are Elizabeth Street and Liverpool Street. Museum is the closest train station and is only a short walk from the Memorial. Entry is free.