• Exhibition time
  • Exhibition location
    Located on the Upper Level


Photo Exhibition


“Fellow citizens, the war is over. The Japanese Government has accepted the terms of surrender imposed by the Allied Nations and hostilities will now cease.”

Australian Prime Minister Ben Chifley


Seventy-five years ago, on 15 August 1945, Emperor Hirohito publicly announced Japan’s acceptance of the Allies’ terms and Japan’s surrender. Nazi Germany had surrendered to the Allies three months earlier. The Second World War was over.

Australian forces were engaged in campaigns across the Pacific – in New Guinea, Bougainville, New Britain, Borneo, and in the Philippines – and Australian prisoners of the Japanese were spread throughout Asia.

While there were many contributors to Japan’s defeat, the dropping of atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August 1945 brought the conflict to a sudden end. Most had expected the war against Japan to continue into 1946.

In Australia, 15 August 1945 was gazetted as VP Day: “Victory in the Pacific Day”. Spontaneous rejoicing broke out with joyous celebrations in cities across the nation. These scenes of jubilation contrasted with somber reflection and thanksgiving as many experienced conflicting emotions: relief that the war was finally over, grief for those who were lost, and apprehension for the future. 


These images are a small preview of the Victory in the Pacific! photographic exhibition located in the Entry Corridor, Ground Floor.

You need a ticket to the Galleries and Commemorative Area to see this exhibition. Tickets are free. Register here.



A group of Australian Women’s Army Service members and two soldiers read a special edition of Guinea Gold announcing the end of the war, Lae, New Guinea, 15 August 1945. AWM 094950


Hiroshima, near the epicentre of the atomic blast, August 1945. At least 129,000 Japanese died as an immediate result of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. AWM 045195


Emaciated prisoners sitting on the steps of an ambulance in Singapore following their release from captivity in Sumatra. Holding the newspaper is Sergeant Jack King RM, formerly of HMS PRINCE OF WALES, while standing next to him, with the distinctive chest tattoo, is Private Tom Wardrope of 2nd Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. IWM HU69972 AWM P01182.005


Soldiers and civilians celebrate VP Day on the streets of Adelaide, South Australia, 15 August 1945. Photo: Adelaide Newspapers Limited. AWM P02018.411


Sailors and civilians “skipping in George Street”, outside the Criterion Hotel in Brisbane, 15 August 1945. General Douglas MacArthur’s General Headquarters was situated nearby in the AMP Building on Queen Street between 1942 and 1944. AWM P10364.005


Flight Lieutenant Athol Graham meets his young son. Graham had left Australia in June 1942 and returned home to Melbourne in October 1945 after serving with the Royal Air Force in Burma. Argus Newspaper Collection, State Library of Victoria H98.100/3897


Melbourne’s Chinese community celebrated VP Day on 15 August 1945 with firecrackers and a lion. This picture shows the lion heading towards the Shrine of Remembrance. AWM 112848


Lieutenant Edith Melrose nurses newly liberated prisoners of war from Changi, including Lieutenants Allen McPhee (top bunk) and Howard Farrelly (bottom bunk, without glasses) aboard the 2/1st AHS Manunda, Singapore, 13 September 1945. AWM 116046


Former Australian prisoners of war arrive at Kallang airport, Singapore, from Bangkok, Thailand, 25 September 1945. These amputees were transported and cared for by a Royal Australian Air Force medical air evacuation flight. AWM 119706


New Guineans working with an Australian war graves unit unload caskets from a battlefield cemetery at Maprik for reburial in the Wewak war cemetery at Cape Moem, 23 October 1945. This casket and the remains of Australians killed in New Guinea were later reinterred in Lae War Cemetery. AWM 098146

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