“They gave their shining youth and built thereby
Valour’s own monument that shall not die.” C.E.W. Bean,
Inscription at Tamworth war memorial
Before the Australian War Memorial was established as Australia’s national memorial during the Second World War, before it had been envisaged by Charles Bean during the First World War, memorials had been established by communities across Australia.
With the advent of the First World War, honour boards were fixed to walls across the country, scoreboards of commitment encouraging others to follow those named; living artefacts, with names and dates added as the war continued. As survivors began to return, they and their dead comrades were honoured by obelisks, halls, carillons, trees, sculptures, statues, and more; community-driven memorials that bore living witness to service and sacrifice.
These memorials became places where communities could come to mourn the loss of loved ones fallen in foreign fields far from home, and to honour the service of those who had returned. Today, memorials across Australia bear testament to the costs of war, and reveal deep community connections to conflicts and peacekeeping operations from the Boer War to Afghanistan.
Places of Pride, the National Register of War Memorials, is an Australian War Memorial initiative to record the location and gather images of every publicly accessible memorial in Australia.
RSL sub-branches, community organisations, schools, and individuals are encouraged to record and upload their local memorials to the website.
Collecting these contributions, Places of Pride allows users to explore the memorials of Australia, including an interactive map and search facilities via postcode, suburb, and town – connecting individuals with community memorials, and commemorating those who have served our country.
The project will be the basis of a new display at the Australian War Memorial, reminding us that the history on display at the Memorial heralds from communities from every corner of the country.
Director of the Australian War Memorial, Dr Brendan Nelson, introduces Places of Pride, the National Register of War Memorials
Does the Australian War Memorial maintain my local memorial?
The function of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, as described in the Australian War Memorial Act 1980, is to develop and maintain a national memorial for all Australians sited in Canberra, the nation's capital. The Memorial does not maintain or fund memorials around Australia.
The custodianship of and responsibility for local memorials in Australia varies greatly across the different state and territories.
Saluting their service commemorative grants program, managed by the Department of Veterans' Affairs, provides funding to preserve Australia's wartime heritage and to involve people throughout the nation in a wide range of projects and activities.