For we are young and free

Their spirit is here in the heart of the land they loved. And it is here that we tell their stories at the Australian War Memorial.

Stories Behind the faces reflected

Their stories represent the qualities of Australians at war and the continued sacrifices our servicemen and women have made, and continue to make, for us.

Navy officers at the Australian War Memorial

Able Seaman Natalie Warren-McCarthy

Able Seaman Natalie Warren-McCarthy (far right) is a member of the Australian Federal Guard (AFG). The AFG provides a Tri-Service ceremonial capability to ‘promote the standards, values, traditions, and ethos of the Australian Defence Force and Australia’. The AFG often conducts a Catafalque Party at the Memorial as an essential part of our Last Post Ceremony.

Two young soldiers

Unidentified soldiers

This image was captured in January 1915, at Broadmeadows in Victoria. Broadmeadows was a major army training camp for the Australian Imperial Force. It was the training ground for the Light Horse regiments, and the site for signals training for all Australian troops during the first call up.

Salvation Army soldiers

Salvation Army Officer

This gentleman (C) was a Salvation Army Officer, captured with Mick Palmer and a fellow Salvation Army Officer in Sidon, Palestine during the Second World War.

Image of female officer with her two children

Petty Officer Julie Higgs

In this image Petty Officer Julie Higgs, of HMAS ANZAC, embraces her daughters Jordan and Maddy, during a homecoming ceremony at Victoria Quay, Fremantle, WA in 2003. Petty Officer Higgs was the only mother on board HMAS ANZAC during its deployment to the Persian Gulf and Iraq.

Soldier carrying wounded soldier

Corporal Leslie ‘Bull’ Allen

Corporal Leslie ‘Bull’ Allen, age 26 of Ballarat Victoria, carries an American soldier to safety. The soldier had been knocked unconscious by a mortar bomb. Allen carried out twelve American casualties while under fire on Mount Tambu, New Guinea. For this gallantry he received the United States Silver Star. This image was captured by Gordon Short on 30 July 1943.

Image of Tom Wickham

Captain Tom Wickham

Australian Army officer Captain Tom Wickham, from Task Group Taji 4, is working at the Taji Military Complex, Iraq. He is part of Operation OKRA where Australian and New Zealand soldiers are training members of the Iraqi Army to defeat the Daesh terrorist group.

They are deployed on active service to Iraq as part of Task Group Taji. This image was captured by CPL Kyle Gunner for the Department of Defence.

The training includes weapons handling, combat first aid, building clearances and obstacle breaching techniques, as well as instruction in the tactics, techniques and procedures for squad through to company-level operations for use in the fight against Daesh.

Flying Officer Victoria Irvine and Leading Aircraftwoman Brooke Coleman

Flying Officer Victoria Irvine

Flying Officer Victoria Irvine (L) and Leading Aircraftwoman Brooke Coleman comprise the stand-by medical staff during a live fire exercise at a Forward Operating Base as part of Ex Hellfire 2014 at Wide Bay Training Area, QLD.  This photograph was taken by LSIS Jayson Tufrey for the Department of Defence.

Laying wreaths at the Australian War Memorial

Flight Lieutenant Kaitlyn O’Brien

Flight Lieutenant Kaitlyn O’Brien is Aide-de-Camp to the Minister for Defence, Hon Marise Payne MP. Here she is with the Minister, who is laying a wreath at the Parliamentary Last Post Ceremony in February 2017.

Three women in uniform walking down the road

Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force

This photograph tells the story of three women from one family, all who served with the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) in World War II. On the left is Clare Stevenson, the Director of the WAAAF, and her two nieces Sergeant Warnock (C) and Sergeant Grant-Stevenson (R). Here they are all arriving for duty at Merton Hall, Victoria in 1944. The Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) was formed in March 1941 after considerable lobbying by women keen to serve and by the Chief of the Air Staff who wanted to release male personnel serving in Australia for service overseas. The WAAAF was the largest of the Second World War women's services, before it was disbanded in 1947.

Memorial Blogs Tales of those who served

  1. 'There was a bond of friendship and mateship money couldn’t buy'

    21 April 2018

    Bob Semple turns 98 next month, but he remembers the siege of Tobruk as if it was yesterday. Read part two of his story.

  2. 'I promised I’d be strong and brave'

    27 February 2018

    Dr Noel Kentish will never forget the last time he saw his father during the Second World War.

  3. 'It was a flurry of red flashes'

    16 February 2018

    Searching tunnel systems in Afghanistan as part of the Incident Response Regiment, Corporal Javier Studenko had no idea that he would end up having to explain to his mother what happened.

  4. 'Every time you get in it you feel safe – you know you’re coming home'

    04 December 2017

    It was a day of mixed emotions for Warrant Officer Benjamin Sime as he climbed out of the Royal Australian Navy’s last operational Seahawk “Bravo” helicopter for the final time.

  5. The book that stopped a bullet

    21 September 2017

    Forty-six years on, Graham Spinkston reflects on what became known as the battle of Nui Le.

  6. 'It felt like you were moving through a ghost town'

    18 September 2017

    When Alison Creagh arrived in East Timor as a peacekeeper in 1999, the drive from the airport to Dili was eerily silent.

  7. 'He saved my life'

    13 September 2017

    The kindness of an Australian peacekeeper gave Theogene Ngamije hope when he needed it most.

  8. Remembering Duncan John Murchison and HMAS Canberra

    09 August 2017

    When Robyn Gladwin was growing up, her mother Marjorie wouldn’t talk to her much about her father, Flight Lieutenant Duncan John Murchison. But she always told her daughter that she knew the exact moment he was killed during the Second World War when Robyn was just a newborn baby.

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