Published: Wed 17 Apr 2013

Private Robert Poate will be honoured today at the Australian War Memorial with a reading by Corporal Daniel Keighran VC, as part of the official launch of the Memorial’s new Last Post ceremony.

For a number of years the Australian War Memorial has conducted a simple closing ceremony. Dr Brendan Nelson, the Memorial’s new Director, has significantly enhanced this ceremony and renamed it the Last Post ceremony.

“Charles Bean, Australia’s First World War official historian, envisioned that the Memorial as a place to help all Australians understand what Australian servicemen and women had endured and what they had done for us. This ceremony is a symbol of Bean’s commitment to always remember and never forget their sacrifice,” said Dr Nelson. 

Dr Nelson said the idea for the ceremony came from his visits to daily Last Post ceremony at Menin Gate Memorial in Ieper, when he was the Australian Ambassador to Belgium.

“The playing of the Last Post always affects me profoundly. I wanted to ensure that the ceremony the ended that day at the Memorial will be remembered by all those who visit this great institution.”

The new ceremony, to be held in the Memorial’s Commemorative Area every day at 4.50 pm, begins with the singing of the Australian National Anthem, followed by the poignant strains of a Lament, played by a piper. During the Lament visitors are invited to lay wreaths and floral tributes beside the Pool of Reflection.

A short account of the life and circumstances of one of the more than 102,000 Australians, whose names are recorded on the Memorial’s Roll of Honour, will be read by a uniformed member of the Australian Defence Force. These readings will be followed by the Ode. To end the ceremony, a bugler will play of the Last Post at the doors to the Memorial’s Hall of Memory.

For the official launch of the ceremony, Corporal Keighran will read an account of the life of Private Robert Poate, of the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2012.

The new ceremony will be broadcast live daily via webcam on the Memorial’s website.

Links:

Private Robert Poate's Roll of Honour record: /research/people/roll_of_honour/person.asp?p=637286

Last Post ceremony web page: /events/daily-closing-ceremony/

CONTACT DETAILS

Tom Vasey                  (02) 6243 4575           0409 600 038     media@awm.gov.au

Marylou Pooley            (02) 6243 4383           0412 646 298

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