During my time in Australia I took a trip to Canberra to visit the impressive Australian War Memorial. Joining the Australian Parliament to occupy the heart of the city, the Memorial commemorates the sacrifice of Australians who died in conflict alongside an extensive museum and archive collection.
The Memorial forms the core of the nation's tribute to the sacrifice and achievement of 102,000 Australian men and women who died serving their country and to those who served overseas and at home. A central commemorative area surrounded by arched alcoves houses the names of the fallen on the bronze panels of the Roll of Honour. At the head of the Pool of Reflection, beyond the Flame of Remembrance, stands the towering Hall of Memory, with its interior wall and high dome clad in a six-million-piece mosaic. Inside lies the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier, an official war grave and national shrine.
My visit to the Memorial was personal in many ways. Whilst researching my family history I came across the sad story of a third generation cousin who emigrated to Australia, signed up to fight in World War I and was killed during the conflict in France. The name of John Edward Williams is inscribed on the wall, and placing a poppy beside his name and that of his comrades was very moving.
A visit to the Memorial will help visitors to understand Australia's past and its future, as well as its spirit. I'll be returning next time I am in Canberra.
For more photos of my visit to the Australian War Memorial click here.