Australian War Memorial
The Australian War Memorial is where the country pays its respects to members of the military killed in conflicts around the world. It was completed in 1941 and is dedicated to servicemen and women from the colonial era to today. Inside the memorial complex is a museum with exhibits exploring Australia’s military history.
Be sure to set aside at least a day to see everything. Consider taking the free guided tour, which lasts 90 minutes and covers the highlights of the memorial.
Admire the statues along ANZAC Parade as you walk up to the memorial. The Byzantine-style memorial building is in a direct line of sight with the entrance of Parliament House. Walk through to the courtyard to see the memorial pool with an eternal flame at its centre and landscaped gardens either side.
The Role of Honor lines the cloisters above the courtyard. The series of bronze plaques bear the names of those killed serving the nation. You’ll notice poppies placed in gaps around the plaques by friends and relatives of the dead.
Move on to the Hall of Memory to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The walls here are decorated with mosaic tiles and stained-glass windows depicting the traits of servicemen and women. The works were done by a World War I veteran who lost an arm at the Battle of Bullecourt.
ANZAC Hall features military hardware, written accounts from soldiers and their partners, and stories about the battles fought. Head upstairs to see artifacts from both World Wars. Read about soldiers awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest decoration for members of Commonwealth armed forces, in the Hall of Valor. You’ll find exhibits about colonial and post-WWII conflicts on the ground floor.
The Australian War Memorial lies on the opposite side of Lake Burley Griffin from Parliament House, at the top of ANZAC Parade. It’s open every day except Christmas Day, and admission is free. On-site parking is available and ACTION buses from Canberra’s central business district stop here as well as other major attractions.