The Australian War Memorial and Museum

Australia – Day 12 – Canberra (part 3)

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The Australian War Memorial combines a shrine, a world-class museum, and an extensive archive. The Memorial’s purpose is to commemorate the sacrifice of those Australians who have died in war. Its mission is to assist Australians to remember, interpret and understand the Australian experience of war and its enduring impact on Australian society. (source)

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Before even entering the Australian War Memorial, we spent a little bit of time taking pictures. From the front steps of the Australian War Memorial we had some direct views of the Parliament House. Canberra is a planned city, and it’s quite amazing to see the details from in the layout of the city.

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Just as we were walked through the main entrance, we continued walking straight into the Commemorative Area. The open courtyard area featured an Eternal Flame which symbolizes a nation’s (Australia’s) perpetual gratitude towards, and remembrance of, its war dead. (source)

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After a quick view in the Commemorative area, walked back toward the entrance to entered “Orientation Gallery” or what I would call the lobby.

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From their we were greeted by an “Australia in the Great War” exhibit which features large (interactive?) panoramas, etc. This is a relatively new permanent exhibit. We didn’t spent much time here since there were a few groups of students, we decided to head to the next area to avoid the big groups.

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We made our way to the Aircraft Hall features “Airpower in the Pacific: 1941-1953.”

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My Dad loves airplanes; I grew up looking up in the sky (near airports) and being taught the differences between different types of airplanes etc. My Dad can talk on about airplanes. I have to admit, some of the basics are still in my head but most details are long gone (sorry Dad).

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We spent quite a bit of time looking at all of the aircrafts displayed.

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We somehow wandered downstairs after seeing all of the airplanes and were met with some modern history. “Conflicts: 1945 to Today.” features the Australian involvement in modern day world conflicts.

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Each war is introduced by a entrance gate that features the years. “The Korean War 1950-1953”, I know the war is not exactly over yet (sadly) but the those were the years of the major fighting and Australian participation. The remember exhibit features interactive tunnels and signs (who said museums are boring?).

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And then the Vietnam War. We spent a lot of time in this section, since my parents lived through this war in Vietnam. I grew up with stories, and of course my parents would not be where they are today if it wasn’t for this war.

And this was the exhibit Auntie specifically wanted my parents to see, because this was their history.

I got tired of taking pictures of everything I was seeing. I put my camera down and walked through a glass passageway at the end of the Vietnam War exhibit that led me to the bridge from HMAS Brisbane; a ship that has served in multiple wars (Vietnam War, the First Gulf War and later with the UN Multinational Interception Force).

Then we walked into “Afghanistan: an Australian Story.”  This exhibit reminded me that wars are still being fought. Interviews and videos were displayed and here we see how far we have gone in war nowadays. The gear, the weapons, etc. may look fancier and more modern, but in the end it all looks the same one way or another.

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With heavy hearts, we skipped the World War 2 exhibit and decided to head back toward the entrance to meet up with Auntie who was at Poppy’s Cafe enjoying her coffee. But not before making our way back to the Commemoration Area and the Roll of Honour on the second floor which looks into the Commemoration Courtyard. Like the “Reflection Wall” at the Floriade, it was lined with poppys.

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It’s also a reminder, that wars may be fought in specific counties but the involvement is not as simple the 1 or 2 countries. Allies, coalitions, friends, and enemies. There are so many counties, places, and people who are affected.

I don’t think history ever changes much, but it is always a good reminder of what is going on in the world and what has happened. I personally enjoyed the museum / memorial

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