As I previously mentioned, my hotel window overlooked Hyde Park in downtown Sydney, and every night this gorgeous building was illuminated and shone through the trees. Walking up to it during the day, it loomed over the lawns and water features and was a stark reminder of Australia’s war efforts from the turn of the last century up to today. On my second day there, I venture inside and this stunning bronze sculpture of a fallen soldier (Sacrifice by George Rayner Hoff – 1934) greeted me as I entered the lower exhibition halls…

You could feel the solemnity and national pride in the coolness of the marble halls. I viewed a number of WWI and WWII displays as well as Vietnam exhibitions and was overwhelmed by the photos, artifacts and information posted in the display cabinets. I had to sit down and rest for a bit just to absorb what I had seen and felt. All my school history lessons came flooding back and I only wished I had paid closer attention back in the 60s – this memorial brought history to life!

I spent nearly an hour in the gift shop, talking with a lovely gentleman who volunteers there regularly to assist with informing visitors as well as sales & donations. I purchased a beautiful pendant with a tiny round glass case of red dirt from the heart of Australia, a golden keyring in the shape of an Aussie digger’s hat made from an old genuine penny (handcrafted by the Vietnam Veterans Association), plus a series of postcards – my contribution to the upkeep and fundraising for the memorial.  Stepping outside into the bright daylight, I headed towards a very unusual sculpture….a group of giant bullets and casings! This stunning and massive art installation is a tribute to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who served in the Australian military. If you visit Sydney, I strongly recommend you visit Hyde Park and the ANZAC memorial to learn how important Australia’s war efforts were to all previous wars and how many lives were sacrificed so we may enjoy our freedoms.