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 m high by 3.7 m wide. There is a niche for the Gallipoli campaign, the war on the Western Front, the Sinai-Palestine campaign and the fourth lists the principal battles fought by the Royal Australian Navy. 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 which is set a stone bought from each of these theatres of operation including Gallipoli, Flanders, Palestine and New Guinea.

The Gallipoli niche lists the following battles: the battle of the landing from  25 April to 2 May 1915; Krithia  fought at Cape Helles on 8 May; Lone Pine  fought from 6 to 9 August; Sari Bair; Hill 60 21 to 27 August; and the evacuation on the 19th and 20th of December

The Western front niche beneath the heading France and Belgium includes: the Somme 1916, the campaign fought between July and November; Bullecourt, two battles in April and May 1917; Messines, the great Australian victory in June 1917; Ypres, the battles of the salient from July to November 1917; Somme 1918, from the defence of Villers-Bretonneux to the Amiens offensive; and the Hindenburg Line, breached by the AIF in September 1918.

The New Guinea and the high seas niche includes Call Cocos islands west Atlantic North Sea Otranto barrage and Malaysia.

The Sinai Palestine niche includes Ramani Magdahaba Gaza – Beersheba Megiddo and Damascus

 

On this day

On this day
16 February

1942— BANKA ISLAND MASSACRE. Following the sinking of the SS Vyner Brook, many of the survivors, including 22 Australian nurses, reached the shore of Banka Island. Realising that their position was desperate, an officer from the ship set out with most of the women and children to surrender the group to the Japanese. The officer returned with 20 Japanese soldiers who ordered all the men capable of walking to move to hidden part of the beach and killed them. They then returned to the beach and ordered the 22 nurses and 1 British civilian woman to walk into the water. They were machine-gunned in the back. All the immobile survivors were then killed. Sister Vivian Bullwinkle pretended to be dead and was the only survivor