Memorial launches Honour their spirit program of activities to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War

05 October 2018

The war that changed our nation forever

Between 1914 and 1918 a young Australian nation sent 414,000 Australians who voluntarily enlisted to serve, fight and die in the First World War. Almost 330,000 were sent overseas to face the horrors of modern industrialised war. By 1918, almost 62,000 Australian lay dead among the blood, mud, and destruction of the trenches in Europe, the sands of Sinai, Palestine and Syria.

The ‘Great War’ would be the first major undertaking by our newly federated nation, one that would change forever change us and our place in the world.

Remembrance Day 2018 marks the centenary of the end of the First World War. The Australian War Memorial has invited Australians from across the country to come to Canberra and help us remember and honour the spirit of those who served our nation and those who continue to do so. That ‘spirit’ includes families who suffered much and made extraordinary sacrifices.

Director of the Australian War Memorial Dr Brendan Nelson said the individual sacrifice of these men and women and those who loved them, their devotion and duty to our country, is what gave us what we have and made us who we are.

“The 62,000 hand-crafted poppies that now sweep across the grounds of this sacred place are woven repositories of love and ennobled memory. Every single one of those men and women, who gave their lives for us, and their last moments to one another, is lovingly represented here.

“This place reminds us of the truths by which we live. Not the building, artefacts, or relics displayed, but the stories of the men and women who stand behind them,” said Dr Nelson.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended the First World War, the Memorial will deliver a program of events across a five-week period, from today until Remembrance Day. Focusing on a display of 62,000 hand-crafted poppies in the grounds of the Memorial enhanced with a lightscape and soundscape, this program will provide our nation with opportunities to reflect on the sacrifices made by our men and women during the First World War, to remember all they did for us and for the freedom we enjoy today. The hand-crafted poppy display is the creation of the 5,000 Poppies Project under the stewardship of Lynn Berry. The display was designed by award winning architect Phillip Johnson.

Visitors are encouraged to post photos of their visit to the Memorial with the hashtag #HonourTheirSpirit

CONTACT:  Media team                 media@awm.gov.au           02 6243 4575 0409 600 038

NOTE: As part of its commemoration of the centenary of the Armistice which ended the First World War a line of commemorative car poppies is available through the Memorial Shop and website. All proceeds are invested back into the Memorial’s collection and operations, and a portion of all sales will be donated to Legacy.  

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Honour Their Spirit