I saw more guns, planes, and Nazi memorabilia–which I assume was stuff captured by Australian troops from downed enemies–than ever before in my entire life. There’s a whole enormous hall just full of old aircraft, including the tiny single-wing balsa wood things my grandpa used to use to train pilots before they were deployed overseas.
(Pa was never deployed because, I assume, he was too useful to the Air Force as a trainer. There’s a Big Issue around service personnel who never left Australia yet still contributed to the war effort. Nanna is still considered a war widow and gets benefits from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. On the other hand, Pa adamantly refused to set foot inside an RSL club his entire life.)
The War Memorial is an interesting place. It doesn’t glorify war–I was tearing up over more than one of the exhibits–so much as simply present the artefacts of conflict in a matter-of-fact sort of way. We only really went through the WWII gallery, so there’s a lot we didn’t end up seeing.
One of the most interesting things in the museum is part of an ancient mosaic floor dug up in Gaza during World War I. I’d be betting it’s one of Australia’s only “plundered Old World antiquity”. Go figure, I guess.