ANZAC Square and Memorial Galleries, Brisbane

ANZAC Square and Memorial Galleries, Brisbane

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Posted 2024-04-16 by Gillian Chingfollow
Learn about Queensland's military history at the ANZAC Square and Memorial Galleries in Brisbane's CBD at the gathering place where history, memories and patriotism collide to commemorate all Australian military conflicts and service.

The permanent ANZAC Square Memorial, which opened in 1930, is a heritage-listed public place which offers a place to honour the fallen, remember those who have served and explore our military history.

(Photo: Gillian Ching)

The centrepiece of the site is the Shrine of Remembrance, the Eternal Flame which co-exist with the Memorial Galleries. The Galleries, which are curated by the State Library of Queensland provide visitors with the chance to delve deeper into Queensland's military history and take their own interactive journey through Australia's history of wars.

While every day is important in history, the Square is most prominent and fills with visitors on ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance, where military ceremonies including the dawn service and marching parade are held.

I decided to visit the Square and Galleries to get a better understanding of our military past and here are some of the things which I found.

There are 3 entrances to ANZAC Square via Ann Street, Adelaide Street and Central Station.

(Photo: Gillian Ching)

The Shrine of Remembrance and the Eternal Flame
The most prominent building is the circular Shrine of Remembrance which stands proudly and solemnly at the top of the Gardens. It is 10 metres in diameter and consists of a Grecian Doric circular colonnade of 18 columns representing the year of peace, 1918. Written around the top of the structure are the names of the major battles in which Australian units figured prominently such as ANZAC, Cocos Isupoli and Villers-Bretonneux.

(Photo: Gillian Ching)

While time has passed, the courage and bravery of the soldiers in the campaign at the Battle of Gallipoli in Turkey during World War 1 is part of the nation's folklore. It was here that approximately 50 000 Australians fought in the campaign and the landing at dawn on the beach now known as Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915 forged part of the nation's identity. It is worth noting that of the 51,000 persons who enlisted in WWI, over 10,000 were killed in the war.

The Eternal Flame burns in the middle of the Shrine of Remembrance and is protected from visitors getting too close for safety and security reasons. But that doesn't diminish its symbolic power.

The World War 1 Memorial Crypt
Below the Shrine of Remembrance is an underground Crypt with historic memorials, factual information, and emotional photos of Australia's involvement in wars. In the trenches, in the hospitals and on the grounds, the photos give a sense of the experiences of the young men and women in battle.

As you enter the Crypt, a collection of free, red silk poppies ( a symbol of the fallen) are available for you to take and place on the Memorials inside the Gallery.

(Photo: Gillian Ching)

Walking through the corridors of the Crypt gives the feeling of strolling through underground passageways. Memorial plaques of numerous Australian regiments who fought during the campaigns are hung on either side of the Walls.

(Photo: Gillian Ching)

Queensland Remembers
At the end of the corridor walk, you will find two gallery rooms, one focussing on WW1 and the other on all wars past 1918. One of my favourite elements was the 2 touchscreens which contain photos, handwritten letters, and stories from Queenslanders and their war efforts.

(Photo: Gillian Ching)

Finding out more about specific stories
While I was there, I asked a Team Member of the State Library if he could help me find out more about my Grandfather and Great Uncle who were ANZACs. He kindly did some historical searches based on their names which brought forward some specific information about their war experiences which helped to fill in some gaps in our family history.

It made the Gallery experience personal and very real beyond the photos and images of so many soldiers and families on the Gallery walls.

Post A Message
The Gallery is not just static and provides spaces where visitors can contribute in their own way to the exhibition. Part of the interactive experience is the message wall where visitors can hand write their own inscription, a word or phrase about the fallen or about war on a post-it note and attach it to the wall. It is yet another way to bring the past into the present and help us delve deeper into our own and others' memories.

(Photo: Gillian Ching)

Fold a Peace Crane for Hiroshima
Arguably the most significant and defining moment in World War 2 was the dropping of 2 atomic bombs by the US over Hiroshima (the supply and logistics base for Japan) and Nagasaki killing between 129,000 and 226,000 people, most of whom were civilians. It remains the only use of nuclear weapons in an armed conflict.

From January to September, visitors to the Gallery can also fold a paper peace crane using Japanese origami art techniques to convey a message of peace to Hiroshima as part of our ‘1000 Paper Cranes for Hiroshima’ project.

(Photo: Gillian Ching)

What Else
On a visit to ANZAC Square and the Galleries, you can't help but pause for a moment to consider the lives and stories of those who took part in battles and the loved ones they left behind. Their reasons differed. There were those who left seeking adventure abroad, those who contributed out of a sense of nationhood and duty, and those who hoped to provide a way of life for those they left behind.

If you would like to Shrine and Memorial yourself, the Gallery is open on:

  • Sunday to Friday from 10 am to 4 pm (Closed on Saturday),
  • Anzac Day from 5:30 am to 3 pm (Note: ANZAC Day is commemorated on 25 April and is a public holiday),
  • Closed on all other public holidays.

  • Admission is free.

    (Photo: Gillian Ching)

    For visitors to Brisbane, existing residents and school groups, a trip to the Shrine and Memorial Gallery is an educational, interesting and insightful exhibition and experience into our historic past and provides lessons to help inform our future. Consider making time to take in this important Gallery and Memorial when you are next in the Brisbane CBD.

    283131 - 2024-04-12 04:58:19


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