On Saturdays, we are going to look at ‘local’ places that are not normally on the beaten track, but may be worth checking out if you have an hour or two.
Given that we live in Brisbane, that’s where many will be found – but not exclusively 🙂
We’ll start with Anzac Square, in Brisbane.
Most Australian towns and cities have a place of remembrance for servicemen and women who have fought (and died) in wars for their country.
Brisbane has many, across the city and suburbs – but the best known is Anzac Square, in the heart of the city.
Described as ‘The place where Queensland remembers’ Anzac Square is in a line between the city’s Central Railway Station and General Post Office.
(It officially stretches from Ann Street to Adelaide Street, while the mirror space from Adelaide to Queen Streets is Post Office Square)
Officially opened in 1930, the Square is topped by the Shrine of Remembrance, which contains a gas-lit flame that is supposed to never be extinguished – but has been, at least once, when drunken overseas students burned books while half-naked.
While it is a state memorial to the men and women who participated in overseas armed service and is named in honour of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, it also contains memorials to those who fought in the Boer War, before we formally became a nation.
Directly below the Shrine is a wall that contains a World War I memorial sculpture. The wall is dedicated to the 60,000 Queenslanders who fought in World War I – the war that was supposed to end all wars.
It wasn’t, of course, which is why there are also memorials to those who fought in later wars – including World War Two.
The World War Two memorial is visually quite interesting – one statue depicts a nurse treating an injured soldier and is opposite another statue of New Guinea natives guiding Australian soldiers through the jungles of the Open Stanley Ranges.
Off to the side of the open plaza is a memorial to those who fought in other campaigns for Australia – Korea, Borneo, Malaya, and, of course, Vietnam (which was our longest lasting war before Afghanistan)
Under the Shrine, there are memorial galleries – including the World War I Memorial Crypt (previously the Shrine of Memories), the World War II Gallery (previously the Memorial Crypt) and the Post World War II Memorial and Exhibition Gallery (formerly the RSL Queensland Branch headquarters)
Not something that will appear in many guide books, Anzac Square is certainly worth an hour or two – and it is, if nothing else, a lovely quiet space in the heart of Brisbane.