The Roll of Honour

Please note: Members of the public are advised that major reconstructive work will be undertaken in the Commemorative Area of the Australian War Memorial from 27 January 2016, scheduled for completion by 1 April 2016. This work includes the reconstruction of heritage elements within the Commemorative Area and aims to restore the appearance, historical integrity, and functionality of the space. There will be fully enclosed scaffolding and hoarding along the entire western cloister while the works are undertaken. This work will cause some disruption to visitors’ experience, including visitor capacity and viewing of the Last Post Ceremony. Visitors will still be able to walk down the cloister and view the names on the Roll of Honour and place poppies in the panels. The work includes asbestos-affected areas, however a risk-assessment has been undertaken by fully qualified contractors in compliance with ACT Government regulations to ensure all necessary safety precautions are taken.

At the entrance to the Memorial are two medieval stone lions that once stood at the gateway of the Menin road at Ypres (Ieper), and were damaged during the First World War. The lions were presented by the city of Ypres to the Memorial in 1936. From the entrance, you can see the copper-clad dome of the Hall of Memory - inside of which lies the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier.

Stepping through the front entrance to the Memorial, your attention is immediately captured by the Commemorative Courtyard. Straight ahead are the Pool of Reflection and the Eternal Flame. Above are 26 sculptures carved in sandstone, representing the people and animals inhabiting Australia. Light and shade, flowers and stone, flame and water: all the elements here are designed to evoke a mood of calm contemplation.

Surrounding the courtyard and glimpsed through arched cloisters is the Roll of Honour. Here are inscribed in bronze the names of virtually every Australian who has died in war since 1885 – more than 102,000 people. Australia is one of the few nations able to name its war dead so completely. Walking past the Roll gives an impression of the magnitude of this loss. Many visitors insert paper poppies in the niches of the Roll of Honour, next to a name that has significance for them.

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