In planning our trip to Canberra, Australia’s Capital, Alex and I encountered one of those rare moments when we realized we were in total agreement about what to see first: The Australian War Memorial. Neither one of us really knew much about it aside from the fact that it was a war memorial and it was in Canberra.
Now, with expectations like that, you can imagine how solidly our minds were blown when we got there and realized the full scope of this amazing place. First of all, the memorial is just the tip of the iceberg, there is also an extensive military museum below. Two words of advice before I go any further: 1.) if it is at all possible for you to see this place – it is totally worth it, and 2.) If you come, leave plenty of time because you will get lost in the museum – it’s that good.
But let’s start with the basics. Opened in 1941, the memorial is dedicated to all of the members of the Australian armed forces. Perhaps the first thing you notice is that there is a clear line of sight from the memorial right over to the Parliament House.
The Commemorative Area includes the Hall of Memory and the Roll of Honour, long rows of plaques listing the many who have died in military service to the country. You can buy poppies from the gift shop to leave next to the name of your loved one.
It’s honestly very moving, and the museum gives tons of context and stories for what these folks went through. The exhibits are all well done, with plenty of interactive and immersive displays that take you from WWI right up to today. And when I say it is ‘extensive’, what I mean to say is that there are even planes hanging from the ceiling – it is seriously cool.
So, to sum things up: if you can go, go! And if you do go, give yourself plenty of time to see everything. Of course, if you can’t go, head right this way for more pictures from our visit.