The carley float from HMAS Sydney.
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: the middle years

  • 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

See all exhibitions currently on display at the Australian War Memorial


Acknowledgement of Traditional Custodians

The Australian War Memorial acknowledges the traditional custodians of country throughout Australia. We recognise their continuing connection to land, sea and waters. We pay our respects to elders past and present.