Military Memorials Self-Guided Driving Tour
Distance: 65 km
Duration: 2 hours
Tour type: Driving Tour
Your self-guided driving tour provides background information on many of the military memorials found in Canberra, Australia's National Capital. These range from the RSL Memorial Grove located on the Federal Highway to the north of the city, through to the Canberra and District National Service Memorial, located to the south in Tuggeranong.
Memorials are also situated in the grounds of the Royal Military College of Australia (Duntroon) and in the nearby suburb of Russell.
Federal Highway entering Canberra, Majura
Along the Federal Highway from Sydney, also known as ‘Remembrance Driveway’, Australian recipients of the Victoria Cross are remembered with lookouts and rest areas. Many Victoria Cross recipients are remembered with street names in Canberra suburbs, including Campbell, Gowrie, Hughes and Russell – site of Defence Headquarters.
1. 2/10TH BATTALION, AUSTRALIAN IMPERIAL FORCE (AIF) ASSOCIATION MEMORIAL
Dedicated to the members of the 2/10th AIF who died on active service during World War II, the memorial consists of a marble plinth on a brick base. The memorial also contains the names of the six Canberra region members of the battalion who died. This unit only existed for the duration of the war (1939 – 1945).
2. RETURNED AND SERVICES LEAGUE (RSL) MEMORIAL GROVE
Established by the ACT Branch of the RSL, this grove commemorates those Australian servicemen and women who died in the service of their country. The RSL badge appears at the top of the grove’s commemoration stone and symbolises the readiness of the League to be of service to ‘the Crown, country and former comrades’.
3. ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE (RAAF) ASSOCIATION MEMORIAL GROVE
Encompassed by a path leading to several plaques commemorating RAAF Units, the grove includes a sandstone plinth topped with a metal cross. The two black granite blocks forming an entrance were transferred from the RAAF Memorial on Anzac Parade during its redesign in 2002.
Corner of Northbourne Avenue and Bunda Street, Veterans Park, Civic
4. SPECIAL AIR SERVICE REGIMENT (SASR) MEMORIAL ROSE GARDEN
This is a living tribute to members of the SASR who have given their lives in the service of their country. It consists of a stone and concrete wall topped with a granite plinth and a rose garden behind this. A Leonard Cheshire rose has been planted for each name on the regiment’s roll of honour.
5. KOREA AND SOUTH EAST ASIA MEMORIAL
Consisting of a circular pool with fountain and a plaque, this memorial commemorates the contribution of Australian servicemen and women in four campaigns: the Korean War, the Malayan Emergency, the confrontation in Malaysia and Borneo and the Vietnam War. The plaque commemorates those who died.
45 Constitution Avenue, Reid
6. ST JOHN’S CHURCH
On the outer north-western wall of the church is a memorial dedicated to the 60 parishioners who died in World War I. Within the churchyard is the grave of Flying Officer F.C. Ewen, RAAF, who died during the ceremonial fly past at the opening of the Provisional Parliament House in 1927.
A stained glass window commemorates Sister May Hayman who died in New Guinea whilst serving in World War II. A small bamboo cross in the side chapel has the words for ‘reconciliation and repentance’ written on it in Japanese. It was presented by Bishop Michael, the then head of the Anglican Church in Japan.
Treloar Crescent, Campbell
7. REMEMBRANCE NATURE PARK
This marks the Canberra terminus of the Remembrance Driveway and also commemorates the signing of the armistice on 11 November 1918 that ended the First World War. Inaugurated in 1953, the driveway is a living memorial to those Australians who served their country in wartime and on peacekeeping missions. 1 2 3
Base of Mt Ainslie, Remembrance Nature Park, Campbell
8. THE ABORIGINAL MEMORIAL PLAQUE
This plaque, attached to a large rock in the nature reserve behind the Australian War Memorial, commemorates the service and sacrifice of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the Defence Force. A special ceremony is held here each ANZAC Day, between the Dawn and National ceremonies. This memorial is 500m along the walking track which begins behind the southernmost picnic shelter in Remembrance Nature Park.
Glossop Crescent, Campbell
9. VICTORIA CROSS PARK
This park includes a memorial to Australia’s Victoria Cross recipients. The Victoria Cross is the highest military award for acts of valour. The memorial consists of two crescent-shaped stone walls topped with a plaque, the paving includes the design of the medal – a Maltese cross bearing the Royal Crest.
Within Campbell there are two other parks with military links – George Cross Park in Moten St and Legacy Park in Savige St.
Russell Drive, Sir Thomas Blamey Square, Russell
10. AUSTRALIAN-AMERICAN MEMORIAL
A 73m column surmounted by a bronze sphere and a stylised American eagle, this memorial demonstrates the gratitude felt by Australians for American military assistance during World War II, and the close ties between our countries resulting from that conflict.
Sir Thomas Blamey Square, off Sellheim Avenue, Russell
11. ROYAL NETHERLANDS AND EAST INDIES FORCES MEMORIAL
This commemorates the servicemen and women of the Dutch forces that operated from Australia from 1941-45. Along with the USA, they were the only non-Commonwealth country to do so. Badges of each of the Dutch military arms and the Netherlands Coat of Arms are included in the memorial.
General Bridges Drive, Mount Pleasant, Russell
12. GENERAL BRIDGES GRAVE
Designed by Walter Burley Griffin, this simple memorial is for Major General William Throsby Bridges, who was the first commandant of RMC Duntroon and formed the first Australian Imperial Force in 1914. He led this force to Gallipoli but died in May 1915. He was the only soldier whose body was returned to Australia for burial.
13. ROYAL REGIMENT OF AUSTRALIAN ARTILLERY NATIONAL MEMORIAL
Overlooking Canberra this memorial commemorates gunners of all ranks who have died in the service of Australia. The design is symbolic of the forts that defended Australian Ports. The 64 pounder guns are from the Sydney Harbour defences. These are still fired for official gun salutes.
Miles Road, Royal Military College, Duntroon
14. PRISONER-OF-WAR NATIONAL MEMORIAL
Also known as the Changi Chapel, this memorial contains the remains of the chapel built by allied prisoners in the Changi camp in 1944. Designed by an officer of the Royal Engineers, Hamish Cameron-Smith, and built from materials scrounged by the prisoners this now stands as a memorial to Australian prisoners-of-war in all campaigns.
1 Robert Campbell Road, Campbell
15. KATHLEEN BEST MEMORIAL GATES
In memory of the first Director of the Women’s Royal Australian Army Corps, these stand on the site of the old Duntroon camp hospital and lead to Cavanagh House, named for a respected nursing sister and matron of Duntroon Hospital. The gates were crafted by Army Apprentices and include coloured tiles depicting the Army Commands (ie. States or Territories) in Australia in 1959.
Flag Station, Harrison Road, near Plant Road, Duntroon
16. OFFICER TRAINING ESTABLISHMENTS MEMORIAL
This commemorates graduates of all three establishments (Duntroon, Portsea and Scheyville) who died on active service or on UN Peacekeeping missions. Behind these three tablets is the bell from the passenger ship MV Duntroon. The memorial also includes an Australian Army Flag Station, one of 12 around Australia with the first established in 1873.
Corner of Harrison Road and Plant Road, Campbell
17. PORTSEA MEMORIAL
This commemorates graduates of the Officer Cadet Training School who died during the confrontation in Malaysia and Borneo and the Vietnam War. It includes overseas cadets from New Zealand, Thailand, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines who died serving their own countries.
Pialligo Avenue, Fairburn Pine Plantation, Majura
18. AIR DISASTER MEMORIAL
This site is accessible by foot. On 13 August 1940 a RAAF bomber crashed near this site. On board were three Federal Government cabinet ministers, the Australian Army Chief of the General Staff, another passenger and five crew. All on board were killed.
Corner of Canberra Avenue and Manuka Circle, Manuka
19. KOKODA TRACK MEMORIAL
At the site of the former Canberra Services Club, this is a tribute to the Papuans who assisted the Australian troops as stretcher bearers, porters and general labourers. 46 Papuans were killed in combat and 162 died from illness and accident. 12 13 14 15
Flynn Drive, Lennox Gardens, Yarralumla
20. SPANISH CIVIL WAR MEMORIAL
Erected in memory of the 70 Australian men and women who took part in this war as individuals, not as part of the Australian defence forces. Over 50,000 supporters from 53 countries went to Spain to help defend the republic against General Franco’s nationalist forces.
Launceston Street, Phillip
21. EDDISON PARK WAR MEMORIAL
Unveiled in 1995, the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, this honours the men and women of Australia who served in this conflict. The park is named for the family that farmed this area. Memorials within the park commemorate the three Eddison sons who also died in conflict.
Woden Cemetery, Justinian Street, Phillip
22. MILITARY GRAVES
Sections 4 and 5 are Commonwealth War Graves for returned servicemen from all conflicts. Next to these sections is the Australian Capital Territory Garden of Remembrance, also for returned servicemen and women. This was dedicated in 2005.
Anketell Street, Tuggeranong Town Park, Greenway
23. CANBERRA AND DISTRICT NATIONAL SERVICE MEMORIAL
This stone memorial honours the men from the Canberra region who were conscripted for military service in the Australian Army, and acknowledged the Regular and Reserve Army members with whom the National Servicemen served.
Please note Anzac Parade is not included in this drive as the NCA produces a self-guided walking tour specifically for that site and the two Navy memorials by the lake are included in the Lake Burley Griffin self-guided walking tour. The position of the Australian War Memorial is noted for reference only.
The Anzac Parade Self-Guided Walking Tour can be found here.
The Lake Burley Griffin Self-Guided Walking Tour can be found here.