Australian War Memorial

Essay by affyJunior High, 9th gradeB+, March 2009

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Australian War MemorialThe Australian War Memorial in Canberra is very successful in honouring and commemorating those men and women who have served and fallen for their country in all armed conflicts since federation. It was constructed in 1941 and is designed to remember those men and women who have passed away during WWI, WWII, and other conflicts since and before then, most recently in the Iraq war. The commemorative area of the site is a large hall honouring the sacrifices made by all those who fought. The Memorial is also the main place in Canberra where Remembrance Day and Anzac day gatherings are held and as well as this, a website has been created to further assist the memorial hall and commemorating Australian’s who have served in any and all of its wars.

The Australian War Memorial was unveiled at 11 am on the 11th of November 1942 and is located in Canberra, not far from parliament house.

It was designed by Emil Sodersteen and John Crust after they tried in an architect competition. Thousands of people now visit it each year, many being tourists and many more being loved ones of those lost during wars. The memorial has the names of every person who died during war dating back to the British Sudanese Expedition, the Second Boer War, and the Boxer Rebellion. Many people believe that such a place of memorial is necessary to truly remember all those who helped protect Australia and its customs, although there are many other memorial sites.

The Commemorative area at the Australian War Memorial displays the name of everyone who has been killed during armed conflict between opposing forces. The Hall of Memory is a place where loved ones and those thankful for the sacrifices made by soldiers in the past can pay their respects. A courtyard in front of the Hall of Memory shows the names of 102,000 Australian soldiers’ who have been killed during a war. These names are displayed on the Roll Of Honour, a large bronze plaque located around the narrow courtyard. . The western gallery has a wall devoted solely to those who were killed in World War one, while the eastern gallery shows the names of those killed in the Second World War and other recent wars. These plaques only contain the name of the soldiers as “All men are equal in death.” In the middle of the two galleries lies an eternal flame surrounded by a memorial pool and decretive shrubs.

The site also consists of a Memorial building, a two story complex with the floor plan in the shape of a cross. The top floor of the building consisting of the West wing, the Right wing, as well as the Aircraft Hall and Hall of Valour, both located between the two wings, while the lower floor contains a theater, a research area and a display for post-World War two conflicts. The entire West wing was created in memory of those lost during World War one, while the entire East wing was built in memory of those lost during World War two. The Aircraft Hall contains a number of intact planes from the World War Two era, while the Hall of Valour hosts 60 Victorian Cross medals, all of which have been awarded to Australian soldiers for their courage and bravery. All these particular rooms highlight the achievements made by certain members of the Australian Army, and give considerable amounts of respect to those most worthy of recognition.

The Australian War Memorial site in Canberra is a host to many large events including functions on Remembrance Day and memorial services on Anzac Day. These mass gatherings of people at this site help to remind everyone of all those who have lost their lives defending their country during battle. These meetings are often attended by federal parliament representatives and embassy officials, as it is close to parliament house and is one of Australia’s main memorial sites. These large gatherings help to commemorate every single Australian who died in conflict between other countries as the memorial displays the names of every Australian soldier to die whilst fighting for their country. These gatherings also show a public demonstration to the world that the soldiers who fought for their country have not been forgotten.

A website developed by the Australian War Memorial and was created to further commemorate those men and women killed during any of Australia’s wars. It is a very effective means of spreading knowledge of the site around the world and allows people to see what types of tours are available. This encourages more visitors to attend the site where they can commemorate the soldiers that are named there.

The Australian War Memorial achieves all the stated aims by listing every person who has been killed in any war since federation on the Roll of Honour. It also goes beyond this and honours those who have been awarded a Victorian Cross, as well as hosting many important events and functions which broadens the audience to other countries. It also has a webpage which further widens the spectrum of visitors and guests. The Australian War Memorial clearly accomplishes all the criteria outlined in the quote and is therefore significant of recognition as a major memorial site in Australia.

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