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What to see at the War Memorial


No trip to Canberra is complete without a visit to the Australian War Memorial. 

The War Memorial is Australia’s place to remember all of the Australians who served and died in war and operational service. It’s part museum, part shrine. And it’s a great place for the kids to actively learn about Australia’s role in world conflict. 

The Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Canberra Tourism have put together a handy guide to seven things you should see if you are going to the Australian War Memorial. 

In no particularly order they are: 

Afghanistan – The Australian story film

This powerful documentary plays in the Bae theatre at 11am each day. It tells the story of Australia’s involvement in the Afghanistan war – the challenges, the successes and the camraderie. But it also tells of the heartbreak for the families left at home. Bring tissues. 

For Country, For Nation

Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders fought in wars for Australia before they were even recognised as Australians. This exhibition tells the story of Indigenous servicemen and women, and draws on their cultural traditions of a warrior’s discipline, knowledge, leadership and skill. 

Middle East Exhibition

From the Gulf War to Iraq and Afghanistan, this modern exhibition contains 220 items from the Australian War Memorial’s collection and items on loan from current and former Defence personnel. It’s a great exhibition to teach the children that war isn’t just history. 

The Roll of Honour

The names of Australians who gave their lives in war or times of service are recorded in bronze panels around the memorial’s commemorative area. It’s custom to find a name, particularly of a relative or ancestor, and place a poppy next to it in tribute. This is undoubtedly the most beautiful and poignant section of the Australian War Memorial and a must-visit for all families. 

The Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

The Deceiving Eye

This exhibition is all about camouflage. Uncover the artistry involved in creating camouflage and the role of Australian artist Frank Hinder in keeping our World War II forces hidden. 

The Last Post Ceremony

At the end of every day, commencing at 4.55pm, the Australian War Memorial farewells visitors with the moving Last Post Ceremony. Make sure that you stay to the end, as this ceremony is worth the wait. It begins with the singing of the National Anthem, followed by the a song from a piper. Visitors are invited to lay wreaths and flowers beside the Pool of Reflection. At each ceremony, the story behind one of the names on the roll of honour is told. It all ends, of course, with the Last Post. 

The Last Post Ceremony at Australian War Memorial occurs at the end of each day, commencing at 4.55 pm AEST.

The image projections

Each night at the Australian War Memorial the names of servicemen and women are projected onto the facade of the building. If you are in Canberra for Anzac Day, head up to the Australian War Memorial at sunset to see photos from the museaum’s huge collection projected onto the building. The projections will also run on Anzac Day itself from 4.30am, when letters and diaries will be read aloud by a representative of each of the armed forces. 

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