Governor-General officially opens the Memorial's Hall of Valour
Before a gathering that included living Victoria Cross holders Keith Payne VC OAM, Corporal Mark Donaldson VC, Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG, Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC, the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia officially opened the Hall of Valour on Monday 21 February.
The Hall of Valour honours the 98 Australians who have received the Victoria Cross, the highest award for bravery in action in the face of the enemy. Symbolically located beneath the commemorative heart of the nation, namely the Hall of Memory and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, it is the home of the national collection of 63 Australian Victoria Cross medals as well as three British Victoria Cross and several George Cross medals.
Guests last Monday also included the descendants and families of more than 100 Victoria Cross and George Cross recipients including the Canberra based family of medical officer Major General Sir Neville Reginald Howse VC KCB KCMG, who was awarded Australia’s first Victoria Cross in 1900 for rescuing a wounded man under heavy fire while serving with a mounted infantry brigade during the Boer War.
Also in attendance was the Hon. Julia Gillard MP, Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Tony Abbott MP Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Warren Snowdon MP Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Senator Michael Ronaldson Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.
The Hall of Valour has been one of the Memorial’s most ambitious redevelopment projects recently in the lead up to the refurbishment of the First World War Galleries in time for the centenary commemorations of the Gallipoli landings in April 2015.
The Victoria Cross was instituted in 1856 by Queen Victoria and made retrospective to 1854 to cover the period of the Crimean War. The metal used in all Victoria Crosses is taken from old captured cannons, reputedly from the Crimean War.
For images of the opening of the Hall of Valour http://www.flickr.com/photos/australianwarmemorial/sets/72157625746048143/