Saturday, 26 July 2014

Australian War Memorial

The Australian War Memorial Canberra is a place I have visited numerous times.
For those of you who know how much of a history buff I am, this would come as no surprise to you!

My craving for historical facts and stories stems from a desire to understand.

I wish to understand how wars start and what are their causes & effects. 
I need to know how & why mankind treats each other as it so often does - very, very badly.
I seem to be on a life long search to understand why we seem to be ruled by so much inhumanity, injustice, racism, sexism, intolerance, prejudice, lies & hatred.

I struggle to understand how these values appear to dominate our combined histories even as most of the individuals I know are honest, decent, caring, generous & kind human beings who wouldn't hurt a fly.

The thing I like about the War Memorial is that it highlights time and time again the courage, integrity & determination of ordinary human beings caught up in events beyond their making. 

War is not glorified.

It is explained, shown & described in all it's gory, unpleasant, devastating detail.
We are invited to commemorate, remember & interpret.

Each time I come away uplifted by the dignity of individuals - the ones who survive the atrocities and deprivations of  war & conflict, the people who maintain hope against all the odds, those who continue on despite despair and those, especially, who work to change the world for the better.

Roll of Honour
My great grandfather's brother died in WW1 - Enoch Walter Richens.
For the first time, I finally found his name on the honour roll.
Window inside the Hall of Memory
Dome inside the Hall of Memory
WW2 exhibition
Diorama of  Tobruk
Painting of Tobruk that the diorama was based on.

Plane silhouettes.
My father-in-law tells the story of how he learned all these silhouettes by heart when he was a young boy. If the planes came over at night, he would be able to work out if they were enemy or friendly aircraft.

In the ANZAC Hall
This is part of one of the Japanese subs that got into Sydney Harbour during WW2.
This is the torpedo damage to one of the Japanese subs.
This exhibition was lit up by moving blue-green light (in case you wondering about the unusual effects).
Ben Quilty's Captain S after Afghanistan.
For his official war artist commission, Quilty has created large-scale portraits that focus on the intense physicality of these soldiers and on the emotional and psychological consequences of their service". 
Vietnam War helicopter.
There was a special exhibition called ANZAC Voices on while we were there.
It will run until Nov/Dec 2014...when the newly redesigned & redeveloped  WW1 rooms will reopen to the public.
All the staff we spoke to were very excited about the renovated rooms.
I've always loved the WW1 diorama's & can't wait to see how they've been refreshed.
Looks like another visit next Kanga Cup!
West Metro Mommy Reads


  1. Really touching exhibit. Thanks for sharing.

  2. The War Memorial is a great tribute to those who served and you're absolutely right War is not glorified there.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Here is my snapshot

  3. What a fascinating memorial site. I can't imagine what it must have been like to see airplanes overhead and to wonder if they were going to be dropping bombs on your town or even your home. Thank you for sharing this.

    Here's my Saturday Snapshot!

  4. What a beautiful and moving series of photos Brona. I've always liked that memorial walls with the poppies, I'm glad you were able to find your great uncle on the wall this time. I'd like to get there again soon, perhaps I'll wait til the WW1 section reopens- odd that they didn't get it ready for the 100th anniversary in August, and odd that the Anzac exhibition doesn't run til Anzac Day.

    1. I think part of the reasoning behind the Anzac Voices exhibition was to provide some WW1 stories whilst the WW1 section was closed for renovatations. I suspect most of the pieces & displays will be absorbed back into the new section.

  5. I love museums like this. We are planning an extended trip to Australia and NZ this winter so I will put this on the list.

    1. Hoe exciting Jackie - where are you planning on visiting & for how long?

  6. Awesome exhibit...and it would definitely be a good thing if those who initiate the wars would think more carefully about all of the issues before plunging many lives lost, and nothing seems resolved. Thanks for sharing...and here's MY SATURDAY SNAPSHOT POST

  7. What a timely and moving post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and the impressive displays of the War. You make me want to visit a war museum in our city, not as elaborate as yours, but still a good place to commemorate... never forget. Thanks for sharing.

  8. amazing exhibits - ty for your thoughtful sharing ...

  9. Thank you for sharing your moving photos from the museum. This looks like a place that is well worth visiting. Thought-provoking, sobering, the reality of war.
    My Saturday Snapshot post features CAFES.

  10. I noticed that you said that Enoch was your great grandfathers brother - he was my great grandfathers brother as well. I did the same thing last year, and specifically looked for Great Uncle Enoch’s name.


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