float

The carley float from HMAS Sydney.

Almost a million Australians, both men and women, served in the Second World War. This war affected Australians more directly than the First World War, and caused immense social change. Over 39,000 Australians died.

The Second World War Galleries show how Australians fought in campaigns against Germany and Italy in Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa; and against Japan in south-east Asia. It covers the experience of those on the home front, for it was during this war that the Australian mainland came under direct attack for the first time.

This suite of galleries tell stories of endurance and courage, of grief and humour, and displays the achievements and the sacrifices of a people at war.

The main areas of the galleries are:

  • 1939: war is declared
  • 1940–41: victory and defeat
  • 1942: turning point
  • 1942–44: beginning of the end
  • 1943–44: New Guinea offensive
  • 1944–45: final campaigns

In these galleries visitors will be able to see a number of large technology objects.

The Second World War Galleries are located on the Ground Level of the Memorial

second world war galleries

The Desert Campaign display in the Second World War Galleries featuring a 25 Pounder Field Gun and Supermarine Spitfire.

LePkw Type 82 Kübelwagen. The Kubelwagen has a 240 centimetre wheelbase and independent suspension on all four wheels. The tyres are a post war NATO pattern. The engine is a post war Volkswagen Beetle engine mounted in the rear of the vehicle. The body of the vehicle is a lightweight metal, with a flat base, allowing the vehicle to propel itself like a sled in sand, mud and snow.

Group portrait of some of the crew members aboard HMAS Sydney II possibly following their successful action against the Italian cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni off Cape Spada, Crete, on 19 July 1940.

IJBIRI, KOKODA TRAIL, NEW GUINEA. OFFICERS OF THE 2/14TH BATTALION FROM LEFT TO RIGHT THEY ARE, LIEUTENANT MOORE, LIEUTENANT BISSETT, CAPTAIN NYE, LIEUTENANT MASON, CAPTAIN TREACY.
TOBRUK, LIBYA. 1941-09-06. A GUN CREW OF THE 3RD LIGHT ANTI-AIRCRAFT REGIMENT IN ACTION WITH AN ITALIAN BREDA MODEL 35 20MM CANNON, MOUNTED ON A CHEVROLET 2 TON TRUCK.
See all exhibitions currently on display at the Australian War Memorial
Exhibitions