Australian War Memorial
The colossal Byzantine-style memorial honouring Australia’s war casualties, which was inaugurated in the middle of WWII, is Canberra’s most heartbreaking sight. The property includes a museum, archives, art gallery, and library in addition to the war memorial. The Commemorative Courtyard at the memorial’s entry is a harrowing start. The names of every Australian who has died in war since 1885 are inscribed in bronze on the walls of the colonnades, and the list is long.
Different galleries outside the entryway retrace the history of Australia’s armed wars from colonial times to the present. The exhibits are always changing, but highlights include a historic aircraft collection and a kid-friendly Discovery Zone with interactive displays. Set aside several hours if possible to appreciate this thought-provoking memorial, and if you’re going at the end of the day, try to stay for the Last Post, a touching homage to the deceased played every day at 4:55 p.m. One of the greatest free things to do in Canberra is to visit the memorial, and the 90-minute tours are highly recommended.