The Niches

The Niches of Remembrance represent each of the principal theatres of war in which Australians served during the Great War. The niches are set into the walls of the Hall of Memory. Each is 8 metres high by 3.7 metres wide. There is a niche for the Gallipoli campaign, another for the war on the Western Front, a third for Egypt and the Sinai-Palestine campaign and the fourth lists the principal battles fought by the Royal Australian Navy.  The lists under each main heading show major campaigns, battles or areas of operation.The inlaid pattern of the marble of the floor of each niche is a stylised rising sun or general service badge worn by the Australian Imperial Force.  In the centre of each is set a stone bought from each of these theatres of operation including Gallipoli, Flanders, Palestine and New Guinea.

It is not known exactly how these lists were compiled during the Memorial’s pre-building phase. In the hundred plus years that have passed since the end of the Great War the collective memory of many of that conflict’s actions has disappeared with the passing of the men who were actually there.  There is some minor evidence of correspondence between architect Bruce Dellit and official historian Charles Bean probably with other input from sculptor Rayner Hoff and ex-service organisations via the Memorial Trustees during the 1930s.  On that basis, the lists most probably represent a compilation of campaigns and actions that were being discussed by Battlefield Nomenclature Boards at the time and which were actions most significant in the minds of the ex-servicemen who actually participated in them.  


On this day

On this day
30 January

1942 — Japanese troops attacked AMBON, Netherlands East Indies, (Indonesia). Australian troops of “Gull Force” and about 2,600 NEI soldiers tried to defend the island but were defeated

1951 — Women’s Royal Australian Air Force formed

1968 — The TET OFFENSIVE began in Vietnam. A series of co-ordinated attacks by communist forces were defeated but the Offensive proved to be a propaganda  victory for the communists, accelerating the American public’s growing opposition to the war. Australian troops of 2nd, 3rd, and 7th Battalions, Royal Australian Regiment were involved in the Offensive