First World War galleries officially opened at the Australian War Memorial

22 February 2015

First World War galleries officially opened at the Australian War Memorial

On Sunday 22 February, the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), officially launched the Australian War Memorial’s new permanent First World War exhibition, Australia in the Great War.

“It is a wonderful feature of our modern national character, the thirst and zeal we have to reflect and remember. This trait is embodied nowhere with greater effect than here at the Australian War Memorial,” the Governor-General said.

“When we visited this new exhibition last week, Lynne and I felt as though we experienced, in some small measure, our nation’s First World War journey. It was a meaningful journey, full of depth and emotion, told with respect and dignity, and I thank all involved for the experience.”

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Honourable Michael Ronaldson, said that he was proud the Government could provide financial assistance to the redevelopment and see the exhibition come to fruition.  

“The Australia in the Great War exhibition brings together a stunning array of objects, images, and documents to tell the story of the Australian experience of this terrible conflict,” the Minister said.  

“The Commonwealth Government’s injection of $28.7 million to the exhibition and our First World War galleries is an investment in the nation’s proud history which will be enjoyed for generations to come.”

The Director of the Australian War Memorial, Dr Brendan Nelson, said that for generations to come this world-class exhibition would honour the service and sacrifice of Australians in the First World War.

“Australia in the Great War speaks to a new generation of Australians, offering knowledge and understanding of the men and women whose sacrifice gave us what we have and made us who we are,” Dr Nelson said.

“Every Australian who sees this stunning exhibition will leave with a greater sense of what was achieved, the price that was paid and legacy left to us.

“Every nation has its story. This is ours. We are proud of it,” said Dr Nelson.

The launch also included an address from the Honourable Maggie Barry ONZM MP, representing the Prime Minister of New Zealand, and a keynote address by Mr Les Carlyon AC, a member of the Council of the Australian War Memorial.

At the launch the Memorial unveiled a state-of-the-art audio tour experience with voice contributions from well-known Australian and New Zealand personalities. The audio tour will be available for all visitors to use free-of-charge for a limited time.

The exhibition presents the story of Australia in the First World War chronologically, covering all major theatres of operations: Gallipoli; the Western Front; Sinai and Palestine; and the war at sea and in the air. The events taking place on the home front and the immediate and enduring legacy of the war are also covered.

The $32.5 million redevelopment of the galleries received $28.7 million from the federal government, $3.82 million from the Memorial’s existing capital reserves, and an additional $1 million donation from BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities.


Diane Morris              02 6206 9825    

Media team                02 6243 4575