The Australian War Memorial is a facility dedicated to the memory of Australians who died during wars, conflicts, or battles. This facility includes not only a memorial, but also a museum and research center. The Australian War Memorial is located in Australia's capital city of Canberra, making it a convenient stop for visitors touring Parliament and other Capital Hill attractions.
This attraction dates back to 1917, when the Australian government established a war records division in Melbourne. This division was dedicated to preserving records and artifacts associated with World War I, which was taking place at this time. By the 1920s, Australians had decided to create a full memorial, as well as a more formal records facility.
An open competition was held in 1927 to allow the public to submit potential designs. Eventually, two of the best designs were consolidated to form the plans for the memorial. The Australian War Memorial was completed in 1941 and opened to the public on Remembrance Day in November of that year.
This facility features a cross-shaped design, with an open courtyard in the center. The Heart of Memory Chapel serves as the central focus of the memorial, with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier situated nearby. A reflecting pool surrounds an eternal flame, and the walls are lined with the names of soldiers who lost their lives in battle. Artistic tributes and sculptures line the walls and walkways around the memorial.
Visitors to the Australian War Memorial can also step inside to see war-related artifacts in the memorial museum. The west wing features exhibits focused on World War I, while the east wing is based on the history and events of World War II. An aircraft hall between the two wings contains flight-related exhibits, including salvaged war planes. Outside in the sculpture garden, guests can also view artifacts like guns and other weaponry that were used in Australia's war efforts.
The Australian War Memorial is open seven days a week, and admission is free. Each night, the staff conduct an elaborate closing ceremony, making this a popular time for visitors. This facility's proximity to other Capital Hill attractions makes it an easy stop for those visiting Canberra. Students and other groups who are unable to travel to the Australian War Memorial can request a memorial box. These boxes contain hands-on artifacts and educational materials that can be borrowed by mail so that students can learn more about Australia's war history.