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Military museums and sites in Australia

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Many Australians have an interest in military history, and there are many military museums and preserved historic sites scatted around the country. While few of the sites of the fighting between European settlers and Indigenous Australians have been marked, much less preserved, there are a number of former fortifications and airfields.

Understand[edit]

Australian soldiers on the Western Front in France during World War I. This was Australia's most costly war, with over 60,000 men being killed

The only large scale war to have taken place in Australia was the fighting between Indigenous Australians and European settlers which began shortly after white settlement in 1788 and continued until the early 1930s. While over 20,000 Indigenous Australians and between 2,000 and 2,500 settlers are estimated to have been killed, there are very few monuments or memorials to the frontier wars, and no battle sites have been preserved. A team of academics is developing an online map of locations where battles and massacres occurred which may be helpful for visiting these sites.

During the colonial era (1788-1901) barracks and coastal fortifications were established around the colonial capital cities. Britain stationed forces in Australia until the country achieved full self-governance in 1901, though it ceased deploying land forces to the continent in 1870.

There was virtually no fighting in or near Australia during World War I, but camps were established to train the men of the Australian Imperial Force before they were deployed overseas. Approximately 60,000 Australian soldiers were killed in the war, and small - and often very moving - memorials were established commemorating them in most towns and suburbs as well as in some churches, schools and workplaces. Larger memorials were also established in the centre of the state capital cities. These memorials have often been used to commemorate casualties of subsequent wars.

World War II[edit]

See also: Pacific War

Australia's defences were improved in the lead up to World War II, with new coastal defences and strategic airstrips being established. Following the rapid Japanese victories in 1941 and 1942 the Australian Government and many Australians feared that the country faced invasion (though the Japanese had no such plans), and these defences were further improved. As the war turned in the favour of the Allies a network of airfields and major Army bases was established in Queensland and the Northern Territory to support the Allied counter-offensive in the Pacific. Many of these airfields were later developed into Australia's post-war network of airports, while others were abandoned; in some circumstances their remains can be visited, though are unlikely to be of much interest.

Post-war history[edit]

In the years after World War II most of the airfields and virtually all of the coastal fortifications were abandoned by the military. The focus of the Australian military shifted more strongly to expeditionary warfare during the Cold War period, with the country being involved in the Korean War, Malaysian Emergency and Vietnam War. The Vietnam War was the largest of these conflicts, and is commemorated through a number of museums and memorials. The other conflicts have attracted far less attention.

In recent decades Australian forces have served around the world as part of peacekeeping missions. The Australian Defence Force has also seen combat in the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria since 2001. The modern Australian Defence Force operates from bases which are generally located in or adjacent to major cities. Few of these facilities are open to the public, but some have small museums on their outskirts which can be visited.

The Australian War Memorial, located in Canberra, is Australia's main military history museum, and also serves as a memorial to the men and women killed during wars and peacekeeping deployments. The Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force maintain a central museum, as well as a network of smaller museums. The Army does not have a central museum, but operates a network of specialised museums spread across Australia. There are also a large number of government and independently-run military history museums. Most towns and the older suburbs of the large cities have a small war memorial which lists the names of the locals killed in war: these serve as the focal points of the ANZAC Day dawn services on 25 April each year; these are listed on the Monument Australia website. Some of the former coastal fortifications and barracks have been opened to the public.

ANZAC day[edit]

25 April 1915 marked the beginning of the Battle of Gallipoli, as the Allied forces attacked Gallipoli, western Turkey, in an attempt to attack Constantinople and gain control over the Dardanelles. One of the units on the Allied side was the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) comprising about 65,000 men. This was the first significant campaign to involve large Australian and New Zealand forces.

Ever since, the Anzac Day has been commemorated on 25 April in Australia and New Zealand a national holiday with dawn services (the landing at Gallipoli took place at dawn) at military memorials and parades. Commemorations are also held in many locations around the world with significant populations of Australians and New Zealanders. The gambling game two-up, popular among Australian soldiers during WWI, is legal at pubs around Australia only on Anzac Day. Anzac biscuits, popular with soldiers on the battlefield as well as in Australia at that time are eaten, and some opt for a "gunfire breakfast"; black coffee with added rum.

Prepare[edit]

A huge number of books have been written on Australia's military history. Jeffrey Grey's A Military History of Australia is a well-regarded overview, and The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History is invaluable. Chris Coulthard-Clark's book The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles provides useful summaries of the main battles Australian forces have been involved in, and includes the main engagements which were fought during the frontier wars. Sacred Places : War Memorials in the Australian Landscape by Ken Inglis discusses the establishment of these monuments and how attitudes to them have changed over time.

There are also many books and websites on individual historic sites within Australia. Local histories often discuss the region's experiences during the world wars, and many of the towns in northern Australia have been the subject of books on their experience of World War II. While many of these works are self-published by amateur historians, the general quality is good. Virtually all military museums maintain a website.

Go[edit]

Map of Military museums and sites in Australia

Australian Capital Territory[edit]

The courtyard of the Australian War Memorial
Museums
  • 1 Australian War Memorial, Treloar Crescent, Campbell ACT. Daily 10AM–5PM, except for Christmas Day. Generally considered one of Australia's best museums, the Australian War Memorial (AWM) provides an in-depth examination of the country's involvement in war and peacekeeping. It is a world class museum, and includes impressive - and historically rigorous - displays of items and military equipment. The names of all the Australians killed during war or peacekeeping missions are inscribed on panels along the upper levels of the memorial's courtyard, and the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier is located in the Hall of Remembrance at the northern end of the courtyard. Allow at least a day. The AWM occasionally holds open days for its large storage warehouse in the northern Canberra suburb of Mitchell (usually in September or October). Free. Australian War Memorial on Wikipedia Australian War Memorial (Q782783) on Wikidata
  • 2 National Museum of Australia, Lawson Crescent, Acton ACT. Daily 10AM–5PM, except for Christmas Day. The NMA's galleries on Indigenous Australia include several small displays on the frontier wars. Free except for some special exhibitions. National Museum of Australia on Wikipedia National Museum of Australia (Q1967496) on Wikidata
Other sites
  • 1 Anzac Parade, Canberra. Anzac Parade, the street leading from Lake Burley Griffin to the AWM, is lined with memorials to each of the armed services, the major wars Australia has been involved in and several battles.
  • 3 Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra (Entry is from Northcott Drive, Campbell). While the grounds of ADFA are open to the public they contain little of interest to visitors. The ADFA library has an excellent collection of books on military history, and sometimes has small exhibitions of historic items on its upper level. The Academy's open day (usually held on the last Saturday in August) boasts interesting displays of current military hardware, including armoured vehicles and helicopters, as well as displays of military marching and infantry tactics by the cadets.
  • 2 Mount Pleasant, General Bridges Drive, ACT. The hill which overlooks the Royal Military College - Duntroon and the nearby Australian Defence Force Academy is topped by the modest Royal Australian Artillery Memorial, which includes two historic cannons. The grave of General William Bridges, the first commander of the Australian troops at Gallipoli, is located just off General Bridges Drive at the base of Mount Pleasant: Bridges was killed in May 1915 and is one of only two Australians killed in the war to have been returned home for burial (the other being the Unknown Soldier at the nearby Australian War Memorial).
  • 4 Royal Military College - Duntroon, Duntroon, ACT (Enter via Staff Cadet Avenue or Robert Campbell Road). The Australian Army's officer training academy was established in 1911, and pre-dates the city of Canberra by two years. Its grounds are open to the public, though access to most buildings is restricted. The Changi Chapel, located halfway along Miles Road, was originally constructed by Australian prisoners of war being held in Singapore during World War II and was moved to Duntroon following the war.
  • 5 Russell Offices, Russell Drive, Russell, ACT. This large office complex houses the administrative headquarters of the Australian Defence Force and the Department of Defence. While none of its buildings are open to the public, visitors can walk around the area. The large Australian-American Memorial is the only sight of any interest, however.

New South Wales[edit]

Sydney region[edit]

Museums[edit]
  • 6 ANZAC Memorial, Hyde Park South, Sydney CBD. Daily 10AM–5PM (except Good Friday & 25 Dec). Commemorates the citizens of New South Wales who served in war. It includes a small, but very high quality, museum. Free. ANZAC War Memorial on Wikipedia
  • 7 Army Museum of New South Wales, Victoria Barracks, Oxford St Paddington, +61 2 8335 5330. Th 10AM-1PM. This small museum has a collection of items relating to Australian Army units from New South Wales. The guided tours of the colonial-era Victoria Barracks also offered through the museum on Thursdays are very interesting. Photo ID is required for entry. Free.
  • 8 Australian National Maritime Museum, 2 Murray St, Darling Harbour, Sydney. Daily 8:30AM–5PM (6PM in Jan but closed 25 Dec). This large museum has displays on the history of the RAN, and its impressive collection of ships includes the destroyer HMAS Vampire, submarine HMAS Onslow, patrol boat HMAS Advance and commando transport Krait. Admission price varies - see the website. Australian National Maritime Museum on Wikipedia Australian National Maritime Museum (Q844329) on Wikidata
  • 9 RAN Heritage Centre, Garden Island, Sydney (Access is via the Garden Island ferry wharf, which is serviced by all ferries on the Circular Quay to Watson’s Bay route). Closes when the last ferry of the day departs. The Royal Australian Navy's main museum is located at the northern end of the Navy's largest base. While it has an moderately interesting collection of artefacts on display, it does not include any preserved ships. The view of the base and the Sydney CBD from the hill behind the museum is worth the climb.
  • 10 Royal New South Wales Lancers Lancer Barracks and Museum, Lancer Barracks, 2 Smith Street, Parramatta, +61 405 482 814, e-mail: . Su 10AM–4PM. This museum displays artefacts related to the 1st/15th Royal New South Wales Lancers (which remains active as an Army Reserve unit), with the main attraction being a small display of tanks and armoured vehicles operated by the regiment. Adults: $7.50 Children $5.00 Families: $15.00. 1st/15th_Royal_New_South_Wales_Lancers on Wikipedia
Other sites[edit]
Fort Denison
  • Sydney Harbour fortifications. Between 1788 and 1945 multiple networks of fortifications were developed to protect Sydney Harbour. While all have now been decommissioned, many of the sites were preserved within the Sydney Harbour National Park and are open to the public. They typically occupy spectacular sites, and can be easily reached with public transport.
  • 11 Bare Island Fort, La Parouse. tours run Sundays. Colonial Era fortifications for Botany Bay are well preserved on the headland island at the entrance to the Bay. $15.
  • 12 Fort Denison (Captain Cook Cruises runs multiple ferries to Fort Denison daily from wharf 6 at Circular Quay - timetable available through its website), toll-free: 1300 072 757, e-mail: . Daily 9AM-5PM. The most famous fort in Australia, Fort Denison occupies a small island in Sydney Harbour near the opera house. The guided heritage tour provides an excellent insight into the fort's history. Ferry ticket: $20, Ferry ticket and tour: Adult $37.50, concession $33, child $29.
  • 13 HMAS Kuttabul (Fleet Base East), Potts Point. Not open to the public. Ships docked at the Royal Australian Navy's main base on the east coast of Australia can be easily viewed from along Mrs Macquarie's Road and the Finger Wharf at Woolloomooloo. Both of the Navy's huge Canberra class amphibious assault ships are based here, along with around half of the force's frigates and several support ships. Warships from other countries also frequently visit the base. HMAS Kuttabul is not open to the public, but occasionally holds open days when visitors can tour ships.
  • 14 HMAS Waterhen, Waverton. Not open to the public. HMAS Waterhen is the base for the Navy's minehunters, landing craft and several other small vessels. These ships can be viewed from the public walkway to the north of the base, as well as the nearby Berry Island Reserve.

Outside Sydney[edit]

The upper casing of the submarine HMAS Otway on display in the inland town of Holbrook
  • 15 Australian Army Infantry Museum, Lone Pine Barracks, Hamilton VC Drive, Singleton Military Area (South of the town of Singleton). W-Su 9AM-4PM, Closed on public holidays and 24 Dec-2 Jan. Adult: $8, pensioners: $5, children: $3.
  • 16 Fighter World, 49 Medowie Rd, Williamtown, NSW. Daily 10AM–4PM, except 25 Dec. Located near RAAF Base Williamstown, the RAAF's main jet fighter base, this museum houses various types of fighter aircraft previously operated by the air force. Adult: $12, child/pensioner/senior: $10. Fighter_World on Wikipedia
  • 17 Fleet Air Arm Museum, 489A Albatross Rd, Nowra, +61 2 4424 2179. Daily 10AM–4PM. This recently-renovated museum located adjacent to the Royal Australian Navy's only air base features examples of almost all of the aircraft types to have been operated by the RAN, as well as a small number of Soviet and British types. The collection is well presented, and features some unusual aircraft. Adult: $10, children: free. Fleet Air Arm Museum (Australia) on Wikipedia
  • 18 Fort Scratchley, Nobbys Road, Newcastle East, +61 2 4974 2027, e-mail: . W-M 10AM–4PM. This fortress protected the coastal city of Newcastle from the 1820s until 1962. On the night of 7/8 June 1942 it fired upon a Japanese submarine which was (ineffectually) shelling the city. General admission free. Charged tours of the site are available, with varying prices as described on the fort's website. Fort Scratchley on Wikipedia Fort Scratchley (Q5472006) on Wikidata
  • 19 Historical Aircraft Restoration Society, Illawarra Regional Airport, Albion Park Rail. Although the major attraction here seems to be the 747 on display outside the building, there are many military aircraft here, and wealth of knowledge of them among those who show you around. Its collection includes one of the F-111 fighter-bomber which were the mainstay of the RAAF for many years. $20.
  • 20 Holbrook Submarine Museum, Corner of Albury and Wallace streets, Holbrook. Daily 10AM-4PM. Somewhat surprisingly, the upper casing of the submarine HMAS Otway has been preserved in a park in the inland town of Holbrook to commemorate the town's namesake, British World War I submarine hero Lt. Norman Douglas Holbrook VC. The museum includes a recreation of a submarine's control room, and submarine-related memorabilia. Adults: $6, Pensioners: $4, Students: $3, Family: $10.
  • 21 Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum, 69 Methven St, Lithgow. Tu W Th 9:30AM-2PM; Sa, Su and public holidays 10AM-4PM. Daily during school holidays. The Lithgow Small Arms Factory has been the main manufacturer of firearms for the Australian military since the early 1900s. Its museum includes examples of the firearms produced at the factory and a large range of prototypes which never entered production. Adults: $10, consession $7, children $5.
  • 22 RAAF Base Wagga Heritage Centre, RAAF Base Wagga, Sturt Highway, Wagga Wagga (Located at Wagga Wagga Airport). W, Sa, Su 10AM-4PM. This museum has a five former RAAF aircraft on display, as well as exhibits on the history of the Air Force in the region.
  • 23 Temora Aviation Museum, Tom Moon Avenue, Temora (Located at Temora Airport). Daily 10AM–4PM except Good Friday, 25-26 Dec, 1 Jan. Located on the site of a World War II-era RAAF training base, the Temora Aviation Museum is home to an interesting collection of historic military aircraft which have been restored to flying condition. It conducts regular flying days - a list of upcoming dates is available on its website. Adult: $13, seniors: $11, children: $7. Higher prices apply on flying days..

Northern Territory[edit]

The nose of the B-52 bomber at the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre
  • 24 Adelaide River War Cemetery, Memorial Terrace, Adelaide River. The main cemetery for military personnel and civilians killed in northern Australia during the Second World War, including as a result of the dozens of Japanese air raids on Darwin and nearby airfields.
  • 25 Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, 557 Stuart Hwy, Darwin, NT. Daily 9AM–5PM, except 25 Dec. This museum has an interesting collection of aircraft, with its main attraction being one of only two American B-52 heavy bombers currently on display outside of the United States. Adults: $14, seniors/pensioners: $10, children under 12 and students: $7.
  • 26 Darwin Military Museum, 5434 Alec Fong Lim Dr, East Point, Darwin. Daily 9:30AM–5PM, except Good Friday, 25-26 Dec, 1 Jan. This museum is focused on Darwin's role in World War II, including the 60 Japanese air raids on the then small town which occurred during 1942 and 1943. Adults: $14.00, children under 15 years: $5.50.
  • 27 Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap. The Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap (often simply referred to as 'Pine Gap') is an important intelligence facility jointly run by the Australian and US Governments. It is one of the most secretive locations in Australia, and it is illegal to enter the "prohibited" area which surrounds it or even take photographs of the facility from a long distance: these laws are strongly enforced. Oddly though, it sits under a frequently-used flightpath into nearby Alice Springs and can often be viewed from commercial aircraft approaching the town! Don't try to get any closer though. Pine Gap on Wikipedia
  • 28 World War II Tunnels (Enter via Kitchener Drive in Darwin's CBD). Opening hours vary: check the website. These tunnels were built at great expense to store oil for the Royal Australian Navy in World War II, but proved unsatisfactory as water leaked into them. They were opened to the public in 1992 and include displays on the history of Darwin during the war. Adults: $6.00, Children: $3.50.

Queensland[edit]

Brisbane region[edit]

Museums
  • 29 Army Museum South Queensland, Victoria Barracks, Petrie Terrace, Brisbane, +61 7 3233 4531. We 9:15AM-12:PM (pre-arranged tours only). While the Army Museum South Queensland's galleries are currently closed, it conducts a weekly tour of the historic Victoria Barracks (a currently-active Australian Defence Force facility) which includes an opportunity to view exhibitions in the barracks' original officers' mess. Bookings are required, and the names of participants and their vehicle registrations must be provided at least a week before the tour. Free.
  • 30 MacArthur Museum, Level 8, MacArthur Chambers, 201 Edward St, Brisbane. Tu Th Su 10AM-3PM. This museum covers the career of American General Douglas MacArthur, who commanded the Allied forces in the South West Pacific from Brisbane between 1942 and 1944 from what are now the Museum's premises, as well as Brisbane's experiences in World War II. Adult: $6, seniors and children: $3.
  • 31 Queensland Maritime Museum, 412 Stanley St, Brisbane City (next to the Goodwill Bridge on the southern bank of the Brisbane River). Daily 9:30AM-4:30PM except Good Friday & 24-26 Dec. The centrepiece of the QMM's collection is the former Royal Australian Navy frigate and survey ship HMAS Diamantina. Adults: $12, children $6.
  • 32 Queensland Military Memorial Museum, 28 Church St, Fortitude Valley, +61 7 3852-3565. Closed for renovation in August 2017.
Other sites
  • 33 Fort Lytton, 160 South Street, Lytton, +61 7 3393-4647. Su and most public holidays 10AM-4PM; group bookings at other times by appointment. Fort Lytton was established in the colonial era to protect Brisbane from attack from the sea and remained an important military installation until World War II. The site has since been refurbished, and the volunteers who run it conduct historical re enactments as part of the Sunday open days. Free. Fort Lytton on Wikipedia
  • 34 "Nyrambla", 21 Henry St, Ascot. This large house in suburban Brisbane was the headquarters of the highly successful Australian-American Central Bureau signals intelligence organisation for most of World War II. It is not open to the public, and remains a private residence.

Outside Brisbane[edit]

A Pilatus Turbo Porter at the Museum of Australian Army Flying
  • 35 Army Museum North Queensland, Jezzine Barracks, Mitchell St, North Ward, Townsville, +61 7 4721-1495, e-mail: . W F Su 9AM-1PM; Anzac Day 11AM-2PM. The Army Museum North Queensland covers the history of the Australian Army in the region, including the service of units raised or based in north Queensland overseas. Townsville is one of Australia's main garrison towns, and is home to a major Army base and a RAAF base. Free.
  • 36 Australian Armour and Artillery Museum, 1145 Kamerunga Road, Smithfield, +61 7 4038-1665. Daily 9:30AM–4:30PM except 1 January & 25-26 Dec. Located in the hinterland of Cairns, this museum claims to have "the largest collection of armoured vehicles and artillery in the Southern Hemisphere". Exhibits on display include rare Australian armoured vehicles, and better-known foreign tanks and artillery guns. Pricing varies - see the museum's website.
  • 37 Gladstone Maritime Museum, 1 Francis Ward Drive, Auckland Point, Gladstone (museum); Flinders Parade, Gladstone (HMAS Gladstone), +61 7 4972 0810. Sa and Su 10AM-4PM (HMAS Gladstone from 9AM-4PM). This museum's collection includes the former Royal Australian Navy patrol boat HMAS Gladstone. The ship appears to be located at a separate site from the Museum, whose collections are focused on the region's civilian maritime history. Adults: $6, concession: $5, child: $3, HMAS Gladstone tours: $5 per person.
  • 38 Gold Coast War Museum, 42 John Rogers Road, Mudgeeraba, +61 7 5530-5222. Phone for opening hours. The Gold Coast War Museum's website states that it has "one of the largest collections of Militaria in Australia".
  • 39 Maryborough Military & Colonial Museum, 106 Wharf Street, Maryborough, +61 7 4123 5900. M-F 9:30AM-3:30PM, Sa Su 9:30AM-12:30PM. Includes a large collection of military memorabilia among the 7000 items on display. These include the only Victoria Cross medal awarded to an soldier during the Gallipoli campaign on display in Australia outside the Australian War Memorial. Adult: $5, child: $3.30.
  • 40 Mount Isa Underground Hospital and Museum, Joan Street, Mount Isa (Located on the grounds of the Mount Isa Base Hospital; enter via the Beth Anderson Museum building). During World War II miners in the remote town of Mount Isa volunteered their time to construct an underground facility in the grounds of the town's hospital for use in the event of an air raid. Abandoned after the war, it was restored to its wartime appearance between 1997 and 2001.
  • 41 Museum of Australian Army Flying, Army Airfield, Oakey (Located 4 km west of the town of Oakey. Turn onto Museum Drive from Oakey Kelvinhaugh Road.). W-Su 10AM-3PM. Located adjacent to the Australian Army's helicopter training school, this museum includes a collection of aircraft and helicopters formerly operated by the Army and RAAF. Adult: $7, pensioners: $5, children: $2.
  • 42 Queensland Air Museum, Pathfinder Drive, Caloundra (Adjacent to Caloundra Aerodrome). Daily 10AM–4PM, except 25 Dec. Has a large collection of civil and military aircraft on display Adult: $13, concession: $10, children: $7.
  • 43 RAAF Base Amberley Heritage Centre, RAAF Base Amberley, South Amberley Road, Amberley, toll-free: 1800 623 306, e-mail: . Daily 9AM–3PM on the third Sunday of each month (except Jan & Dec), and 9AM–3PM for pre-arranged tour groups on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This museum at the RAAF's main bomber and transport aircraft base has eight aircraft and helicopters on display. Visitors need to provide a form of photo ID issued by an Australian government agency to gain entry to the active RAAF base on which the museum is located, and will have their personal details recorded. It is recommended that visitors fill in the public open day registration form available on the museum's website before arrival. Free.
  • 44 RAAF Base Townsville Heritage Centre, RAAF Base Townsville (Enter via Ingham Road.), +61 7 4752 1712. Tu and Th 9AM-noon, Su 10AM-4PM. Includes indoor and outdoor displays on the history of the RAAF in Townsville during World War II and afterwards. No access requirements are specified on the Museum's website, but as it is located on an active RAAF base it would be a good idea to phone the museum well ahead of visiting to confirm whether this is the case. Free.

South Australia[edit]

HMAS Whyalla at the Whyalla Maritime Museum

Adelaide area[edit]

  • 45 Army Museum of South Australia, Keswick Barracks, Anzac Highway, Keswick. Su noon-4PM. Located on an Australian Army base, this museum has displays on the history of the Army units raised in SA.
  • 46 Fort Glanville, 359 Military Road, Semaphore Park. Tu 9AM-2PM (booked tours only); 1-4:30 PM every third Sunday of the month between September and May (general admission). The first of a network of coastal fortifications constructed to protect Adelaide, Fort Glanville was completed in 1882. It ceased to be an active military base in 1903, but was used during the world wars. The fort was restored during the 1970s and is in its original condition. Its website states that "It is the premier site in the state, and possibly Australia, for showcasing colonial era defences and fortifications". Tuesday tours: $5, General admission Sundays: adults: $10, children: $5.
  • 47 South Australian Aviation Museum, 66 Lipton Street, Port Adelaide. Daily 10:30AM-4:30PM except 25 Dec. The South Australian Aviation Museum has 17 aircraft on display, and also includes exhibits on the history of aviation in the state. Adult: $10, concession: $8, children under 16: $5.

Outside Adelaide[edit]

  • 48 Maralinga atomic test site tours, e-mail: . During 1956 and 1957 the British military, in cooperation with the Australian Government, tested seven atomic bombs at Maralinga in the South Australian outback. The test range remains restricted land, but can be visited through the company Maralinga Tours which is run by local Indigenous Australians. Note that the site is very remote, and Maralinga Tours' website recommends that visitors use a four wheel drive vehicle due to the condition of the approach roads. The company also requires that visitors arrive the day before their tour. Price varies - see the company's website.
  • 49 Whyalla Maritime Museum (Entry through the Whyalla Visitor Centre, Lincoln Highway), +61 8 8645 7900. Daily 10AM-4PM except Good Friday and 25 Dec. This museum's collection includes the World War II-era corvette HMAS Whyalla which is displayed out of the water; the museum's website once labeled her "the largest landlocked ship in the state".
  • 50 Woomera Heritage Centre and Missile Park, Dewrang Avenue, Woomera, +61 8 8673 7042. Daily 10AM-5PM between March and November, closed from December to February. This museum located in the service town for the vast Woomera Test Range includes examples of some of the many missiles and civilian rockets tested at the range, as well as a small number of aircraft.

Tasmania[edit]

  • 51 Australian Army Museum Tasmania, Anglesea Barracks, Davey Street, Hobart. Tu Th Sa 9AM-1PM. Located within the grounds of the historic Anglesea Barracks (established in 1811), this museum covers Tasmania's military history. While the barracks remains an active Australian Defence Force facility it is open to the public, and has interesting displays of weapons and several historically significant monuments. These include the only war memorial to have been erected by the many British Army units which undertook garrison duties in colonial Australia. Army_Museum_of_Tasmania on Wikipedia
  • 52 RAAF Memorial Centre Museum, 61 Davey Street, Hobart, +61 3 6234 3862, e-mail: . By prior arrangement. This small museum in the offices of the RAAF Association Tasmania boasts a collection of air force-related memorabilia and a library. It is open to individuals and groups by appointment only.
  • 53 Scottsdale RSL Military Museum, 32A George Street, Scottsdale. Daily during summer 9AM-4PM, W Sa Su 11AM-1PM from May until December. The Returned and Services League club in in the town of Scottsdale has a small museum which features an Iroquois helicopter used by the RAAF during the Vietnam War and a collection of other military memorabilia. Adults $5, children free.
  • 54 Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Dunn Place, Hobart, +61 3 6165 7000, e-mail: . Daily 10AM-4PM from 26 December until 31 March; Tu-Su 10AM-4PM at other times. Closed Good Friday, Anzac Day and Christmas Day. Includes a small gallery on the frontier wars in Tasmania. Free.

Victoria[edit]

The Shrine of Remembrance

Melbourne[edit]

  • 55 HMAS Castlemaine, Gem Pier, Williamstown, Melbourne (Located at the end of Syme Street). Weekends and public holidays only. Castlemaine is one of the sixty Bathurst class corvettes built during World War II, and the only one of the surviving ships in the class which is still afloat. She has been restored to her World War II appearance. Adult: $6, child: $3.
  • 56 HMAS J7 remnants, Jetty Road, Sandringham (Access via the Sandringham Yacht Club). The J7 was constructed for the British Royal Navy during World War I, and transferred to the Royal Australian Navy after the war with five of her sister ships. The RAN could not afford to operate these submarines, and in 1930 J7 was scuttled to form a breakwater at the Sandringham Yacht Club. Her hull now forms the centrepiece of the Club's marina.
  • 57 HMVS Cerberus remnants, Cerberus Way, Black Rock. The monitor Cerberus served in the pre-Federation Victorian Naval Forces and the Royal Australian Navy between 1871 and 1924. She was scuttled in Port Phillip Bay off Melbourne in 1926, and her heritage-listed remains can be seen from the nearby shoreline.
  • 58 RAAF Museum, RAAF Base Williams, Point Cook Road, Point Cook, Victoria (Visitors aged over 16 need to produce photo ID to gain access to the base). Tu-F 10AM–3PM, Sa Su and public holidays 10AM–5PM. The Royal Australian Air Force's main museum houses a large collection of aircraft as well as displays on the history of the service. Free.
  • 59 Shrine of Remembrance, Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne. Daily 10AM–5PM. The main memorial to the state of Victoria's war casualties. It includes a museum with a large collection of photos and items, as well as temporary exhibitions. Several other war memorials and sculptures are located nearby. Free.
  • 60 Victoria Barracks, St Kilda Road, Southbank. Victoria Barracks was the administrative headquarters for the Australian military during both world wars, and remains an active Australian Defence Force facility. It is closed to the public, but a small collection of artillery guns is on display along its St Kilda Road frontage.

Outside Melbourne[edit]

  • 61 Army Museum Bandiana, Anderson Road, Gaza Ridge Barracks, South Bandiana (Turn off from the Murray Valley Highway), +61 2 6055 2886, e-mail: . By appointment only on Tu, Th and Sa 10AM-2PM. Closed on Good Friday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day and Christmas Eve to New Years Day. Appointments must be made at least 24 hours prior to visiting.. This museum covers the history of 12 of the Army's specialist corps, as well as the locally-raised 2/23rd Infantry Battalion. Not surprisingly, it boasts a large and diverse collection which includes tanks, trucks and artillery guns. Free.
  • 62 Fort Queenscliff, King Street, Queenscliff, +61 3 5258 1488, e-mail: . Can be visited only through scheduled tours, whose timing varies - see the fort's website. Fort Queenscliff was the headquarters of the network of coast fortifications established to protect Melbourne, and has been well preserved. A gun at the fort is often credited with firing the British Empire's first shot of the First World War. The fort remains Army property, and photo ID is needed to gain entry. Adult: $12, concession: $9, child $7.
  • 63 Gippsland Armed Forces Museum, Lyon Crescent, Fulham (Located at West Sale Airport), +61 3 5144 5500, e-mail: . Sa-M, 10AM-4PM. A small museum focused on the military history of the Gippsland region. Its collection includes a former Royal Australian Navy Grumman Tracker aircraft. Adults: $4, child: $1.
  • 64 National Vietnam Veterans Museum, 25 Veterans Drive, Newhaven, Phillip Island. Daily 10AM-5PM, closed from noon Christmas Eve to Boxing Day, New Years Day & Easter Friday. Commemorates the Australians who served in the Vietnam War. Its collection includes vehicles and equipment used in the war, and a range of items donated by veterans and their families. Varies, see website.
  • 65 Royal Australian Armoured Corps Tank Museum, Hopkins Barracks, Puckapunyal Victoria (Visitors aged over 18 must produce photo ID to gain admittance to the barracks), +61 3 5735 7285, e-mail: . Tu-F 10AM–5PM. The museum of the Australian Army's armoured units has an impressive collection of tanks and other armoured vehicles. These include many rare or unusual types. Free. Royal_Australian_Armoured_Corps_Memorial_and_Army_Tank_Museum on Wikipedia

Western Australia[edit]

The main entrance to the Army Museum of Western Australia

Perth area[edit]

  • 66 Army Museum of Western Australia, Artillery Barracks, Burt Street, Fremantle, +61 8 9430 2535, e-mail: . W-Su 11AM-4PM (last admission at 3PM). This museum is focused on the history of the Army units raised in WA. It includes a small, but interesting, collection of tanks and artillery guns. Adult visitors are required to show photo ID. Adult: $10, children and concession: $7.
  • 67 Aviation Heritage Museum, Air Force Memorial Estate, Bull Creek Drive, Bull Creek, Western Australia, +61 8 9311 4470. Daily 10AM–4PM except for Good Friday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. Features a collection of 22 civil and military aircraft. As of August 2017 the museum's website was under construction, so it may be wise to phone before visiting to confirm that the museum is open. Adult: $10, concession card holders: $7.50, child: $5.
  • 68 Naval Memorial Park, Corner of Rockingham Beach Road and Weld Street, East Rockingham. This park located on a bay opposite the Royal Australian Navy's west coast base HMAS Stirling includes the fin from the submarine HMAS Orion and a gun turret from the destroyer escort HMAS Derwant, as well as a number of commemorative plaques.
  • 69 Oliver Hill Battery, Rottnest Island. One of the best-preserved World War II-era coastal batteries in Australia. A comprehensive overview of this and the other fortifications on Rottnest Island off the coast from Perth is available on Engineers Australia's website. Prices vary - see website.
  • 70 Western Australian Maritime Museum, Victoria Quay, Fremantle. Daily 9:30AM-5PM, closed Good Friday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. Reduced hours on ANZAC Day. Includes a display on the naval defence of WA and the preserved submarine HMAS Ovens. Admission fees vary - see the museum's website.

Outside Perth[edit]

  • 71 HMAS Sydney II Memorial, Gummer Avenue, Geralton. The main memorial to the 645 Australian sailors killed when the German cruiser Kormoran sank the light cruiser HMAS Sydney off the coast of Western Australia in November 1941. A guided tour of the memorial is conducted each day at 10:30AM. Battle_between_HMAS_Sydney_and_German_auxiliary_cruiser_Kormoran#Memorials on Wikipedia
  • 72 National Anzac Centre, 67 Forts Road, Albany, +61 8 6820 3500, e-mail: . Commemorates the first convoy carrying Australian and New Zealand soldiers to the Middle East during World War I, which departed from the port town of Albany. The site also includes the federation-era Princess Royal Fortress, which can be visited free of charge. Adults $24, concession $20, children $10.
  • 73 Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt (Located 6km north of Exmouth). The Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt located near the remote town of Exmouth was an important communications facility for the US Navy during the Cold War. It remains in use for the Australian and US Navies. The facility boasts several huge radio towers, one of which was the tallest structure in the southern hemisphere at the time it was constructed. These can be seen from nearby roads, though the station is closed to the public.

Respect[edit]

While Australians are generally relaxed about their history and many acknowledge its more unsavoury aspects, some people may react badly to criticism of the military or individual soldiers (especially suggestions that Australia did not pull its weight in a battle or war, or that soldiers displayed cowardice or committed atrocities). Strong criticism of the military on Anzac Day is widely regarded as being offensive. The Australian military is an apolitical institution, and it is generally considered inappropriate to make political demonstrations at military-focused events or involving war memorials.

Stay safe[edit]

Access to some Australian Defence Force and intelligence facilities, such as the Pine Gap facility near Alice Springs, is highly restricted

It is illegal to take photographs of active Australian Defence Force bases and other "prohibited" areas. However, this does not seem to be enforced for facilities which are open to the public or can be viewed from public land (for instance, much of the Royal Australian Navy's main base in Sydney can be overlooked from parkland and ferries), or at open days. If signs are displayed prohibiting photography or guards advise you to not take photos, you need to put the camera away - and note that even bringing a camera onto "prohibited" areas can potentially lead to prosecution.

Due to security requirements, visitors to most of the military museums located on active Australian Defence Force bases are currently required to show photo ID to gain entry. You may also need to book a visit and be escorted to and from the museum. The websites of these museums explain the access requirements, and should be consulted before visiting.

Go next[edit]

Australians often visit the battlefields where Australian military forces fought overseas.

The main areas visited are Gallipoli in Turkey and the former Western Front in France, and many people also visit the Australian battlefields in Vietnam and some locations were Australians were held prisoner in Thailand and Singapore. Most of these areas can be easily visited by independent travellers, and specialised tours are also available. Trekking the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea is popular, but is not to be undertaken lightly. The other Australian battlefields in Asia are rarely visited, and many of the battlefields in North Africa and the Middle East are in countries which are currently suffering from political instability or civil war. The historian Peter Stanley's book A Stout Pair of Boots provides useful advice on visiting Australian battlefields overseas, and there are many specialised guides to the battlefields in France, Gallipoli and along the Kokoda Track.

New Zealand has a similar range of military museums to those in Australia, and some sites relating to the Colonial-era New Zealand Wars have been preserved.


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