External Bas Reliefs

Surmounting the east and west portals are great bronze bas relief panels which tell in graphic form the activities of the 1st AIF. That on the eastern face illustrates the Eastern campaigns of the Australians, from the landing at Gallipoli to the campaign in Sinai and Palestine.

In similar manner the panel on the western side of the building depicts Australians in the First World War on the Western Front, in France and Belgium.

Each of the bronze panels is over 10 metres long and over 1 metre high.  The style is realistic and matter of fact, and neither pathos nor heroics are invoked when the wounded, gassed and dying men fall. The reliefs are probably inspired by Roman Victory Columns such as Trajan's. Hoff had studied in Rome.

Photo by Rob Tuckwell

The Western Front, 1916-1918

From left to right are depicted: A soldier of a Cyclist's Company - An R.E.8 Aeroplane , Pilot and Observer with machine gun - Pilot, Observer and Mechanic of the Flying Corps - Dispatch Rider with pigeon basket leaving signals HQ - Pioneer with duck board - Infantry marching from rest area - Signallers laying telephone wire - Gassed and wounded leaving casualty station - 9.2in. Howitzer in action (firing) - Stretcher Bearers going forward with stretcher - Bomber throwing a 'Mills' - A Lewis Gun Crew with infantry in attack against gas, accompanied by a tank.

Photo by Rob Tuckwell

The Eastern Campaigns, 1914-1918

From left to right are shown: A Naval Landing Party - A.N.&M.E.F. Chief Petty Officer - Surgeon, Nurse, Stretcher Bearer and Ambulance Driver at railhead depot - Wireless Signallers in the field - Infantry - Australian Camel Corps - Railway Engineers laying light lines (Palestine) - Mule Transport with water containers - Light Horse acting as infantry - Pioneer - Part of a crew of Hotchkiss Hun - Eighteen-pounder Battery in action (loading) - Ford with mounted Lewis Gun and Light Horse in attack with mounted Hotchkiss Gun - Section registering casualties.

On this day
21 September

1916 — HMAS Melbourne joined the Second Light Cruiser Squadron for operations in the NORTH SEA. The Squadron was based at ROSYTH, Scotland

1918 — Australian Flying Corps airmen attacked Turkish troops at WADI FARA, Palestine

1971 — Battle of Nui Le, South Vietnam. Soldiers of B and D Company 4RAR/NZ fought an Intense battle in which 5 Australians were killed and 24 wounded. This was the last battle fought by Australians in South Vietnam