Middle East Galleries

Artillerymen train at the Australian-run Afghan National Army Artillery School at Camp Alamo in Kabul, February 2011.

A new permanent display that expands the story of Australia’s involvement in conflicts in the Middle East from the First Gulf War to Afghanistan, opened to the public on the 6 October 2016.

The 150 square metre display is located within the existing Conflicts 1945 to today galleries, and canvasses Australia’s involvement in the First Gulf War, UN weapons inspections, Operation Habitat, the Maritime Interception Force,  as well as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is the first major upgrade to the Conflicts 1945 to today galleries since they opened in December 2007.

The display includes 218 items from the Memorial’s collection and on loan from current and former Australian Defence Force personnel.

The Afghanistan section features Explosive Detection Dog Sarbi, donated by her handler, Corporal David Simpson.

Sarbi went missing in action during the engagement in which Corporal Mark Donaldson was awarded the Victoria Cross. After 13 months, Sarbi was recovered by US forces and reunited with her unit and handler. The Purple Cross medal awarded to her in recognition of her courage, strength, resilience and service is also on display. 

Also on display is a prosthetic limb worn by Sapper Curtis “Kiwi” McGrath who lost both legs in an IED blast on 23 August 2012. When he was wounded, McGrath joked with medics about becoming a Paralympian – four years later he won gold in the K3 canoe sprint event at the Rio Paralympic Games.

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If you were involved in operations in East Timor, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the Official History Project Team welcomes your contribution to the Operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Peacekeeping Operations in East Timor Official History. Contact details are available on the Official History page on our website.

Veterans of the First and Second Gulf Wars and the War in Afghanistan are welcome to sign the Tarin Kowt sign in the Middle East Gallery, and share their stories. The next time you're visiting us at the Memorial in Canberra, simply ask a staff member in the 'Conflicts 1945 to today' galleries for assistance.

Return to Conflict 1945 to Today Exhibition