The Australian War Memorial has become a kind of national cathedral. Those who visit Canberra for the first time feel that they must see it. It fascinates nationalists, those who are entranced by past wars, those who love displays of technology, relatives of the war dead, those attracted to family history, and the countless visitors who unknowingly seek heroes outside the sporting and theatrical arenas where money is king. There were said to be no cash registers at Gallipoli and Kokoda.
Book of relics
A kind of secular family bible
Australian War Memorial: Treasures from a Century of Collecting
by Nola Anderson
Australian War Memorial (Murdoch Books), $90 hb, 611 pp, 9781742660127
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Geoffrey Blainey, a practising historian for some sixty years, has written on Australian and world history. Long attracted to museums, he was deputy chairman of the Whitlam government's Enquiry into Museums and National Collections in 1974–75. Later, he served on the board of the Australian War Memorial for seven years. His book, The Causes of War (1973, 1988), is debated in military academies and in US universities.
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