Canberra at war

Canberra at war

Eighteen months after the official announcement of Canberra as Australia’s new national capital, the nation was plunged into a conflict the scale of which had never been witnessed before. During those years of the First World War, the military continued to play an important role in the national capital’s development.

As the years passed and a second, more formidable conflict loomed, Canberra’s landscape changed significantly as new government departments and major military establishments for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Royal Australian Navy (RAN) took up residence in the city. Other already established institutions were expanded to take on roles specific to the war effort.

As the seat of the federal government, Canberra was the centre of key political events that affected the conduct of the nation’s military commitment. The Second World War also brought noticeable changes to the daily lives of Canberrans. Although the city was never directly attacked the citizens were very much involved in establishing precautionary measures to protect the city in case of air raid.

Early Duntroon graduates

Group portrait of Lieutenant Cyril Albert Clowes (left), his brother Lieutenant Norman Clowes (right) and a British Officer

Teenagers Cyril and Norman Clowes started at Duntroon on 27 June 1911.
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Molonglo internment camp

The school at Molonglo Internment Camp

Seventy-seven children and their parents were interned at the Molonglo Internment Camp.
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Canberra home front

Digging slit trenches in the grounds of parliament house

Air raid trenches were dug in preparation for air raid drills and evacuations.
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RAAF Station Canberra

The RAAF Station Canberra was established in on 1 April 1940.
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Learn More About Canberra's Military History
Back to Salute: Canberra's Military Heritage