The bicycle is a machine that we can all relate to, it’s a common denominator. Be that early childhood memories of the first ride down that steep hill, the freedom to go distances that would be problematic on foot or that flat tyre at the most inconvenient time.
One of my favourite items at the Memorial is a tall steel and iron German camouflage tree from the First World War. During the First World War fake trees were one method used for disguising observation posts on the Western Front. This tree is from Oosttaverne Wood (also sometimes spelt Oostaverne Wood), near Messines in Belgium. We don't know when the tree was erected in the wood, but it could have been used by the Germans up until 7 June 1917, when the Oosttaverne area was captured by the British during the Battle of Messines.
Forty years ago, in May/June 1968 Australian soldiers fought their largest, most sustained and arguably most hazardous battles of the Vietnam War. Units of the 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) confronted regimental-sized formations of the North Vietnamese regular army in fierce actions around Fire Support Patrol Bases (FSPB) Coral and Balmoral in what was then known as Bien Hoa province.
On display in the Memorial's First World War Gallery is this damaged trench mortar barrel. The explosion that damaged this Stokes 3" trench mortar barrel in 1918 also sadly killed two young men from the 6th Australian Light Trench Mortar Battery.