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Embark on an interactive journey from World War One to today inside the Anzac Square Memorial Galleries.
Curated by the State Library of Queensland, visitors to the refreshed exhibition can now delve deeper into Queensland’s war history than ever before, exploring the extraordinary true stories of courage, resilience, sacrifice and duty that underpin the Queensland war experience.
The 9th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force (AIF), was recruited in Queensland in August 1914. Together with the 10th, 11th and 12th Battalions, it formed the 3rd Brigade. This battalion was one of the first ashore at Gallipoli, and later fought on the Western Front throughout France.
The 52nd Battalion, Australian Imperial Force (AIF), was raised in Egypt in 1916. Half the battalion comprised South and Western Australian and Tasmanian veterans from the 12th Battalion; the other half comprised largely Queensland recruits who had recently arrived from Australia.
The 5th Light Horse Regiment, Australian Imperial Force (AIF), was raised in Brisbane in September 1914. Made up entirely of Queensland volunteers who had been tested in riding and shooting, it became part of the 2nd Light Horse Brigade.
During WWI, two submarines served as part of the Royal Australian Navy forces. The AE1 disappeared with all hands on deck during a patrol in September 1914. Its final resting place was identified in 2017. The AE2 was scuttled in April 1915 as a result of crippling enemy fire in the Dardanelles.
The Australian Hospital Ship (AHS) Centaur was attacked and sunk off the coast of Queensland during WWII. In 1948, Queensland nurses established the Centaur Memorial Fund for Nurses, acknowledging the 268 medical personnel and others whose lives were lost in the Centaur tragedy.
At the outbreak of WWII, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) had no front-line combat aircraft and only one flying school. Having joined the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS), the RAAF delivered basic training for 1,000 recruits every four months for overseas service. Graduates went on to participate in RAF operations in the European, Mediterranean, North African and South-East Asian theatres. By the end of the war in 1945, a total of 216,900 men and women had served in the RAAF with 10,562 killed in action. With 76 squadrons formed, and personnel operating nearly 6,000 aircraft, the RAAF became the world’s fourth largest air force.
The New Guinea Volunteer Rifles (NGVR) was the only Australian Army Militia unit to have been raised, mobilised, fought and disbanded overseas. NGVR operations included rescue missions, the evacuation of thousands of European civilians from the war zone and setting up camps for several thousand native labourers. When the Japanese forces landed at Rabaul in 1942, they quickly overran the NGVR defences; 28 men were killed and many NGVR personnel were taken prisoner. About 36 NGVR personnel were also among the 1,053 lost on board the Japanese ship, Montevideo Maru, when it was torpedoed and tragically sunk by an American submarine in 1942.
The 42nd Infantry Battalion, also known as the ‘Capricornia Regiment’ trained across central Queensland before undertaking defensive duties as part of the 5th Division’s 29th Brigade. In 1943, the brigade was sent to Milne Bay, then Tambu Bay and Salamaua. In 1944 they linked up with the 7th Division to clear Lae, then later transferred to Petrie. By August 1944, the brigade held the Australian record for the longest service in New Guinea – 18 months. In 1945, the battalion, with the rest of the 29th Brigade, joined the 3rd Division in Bougainville. The battalion lost a total of 27 killed and 55 wounded and disbanded on 7 May 1946.
The Battle of Long Tan took place on the 18th August 1966 in a rubber plantation in the Phuoc Tuy Province and involved soldiers from the 1st Australian Task Force, which included 11 Platoon, Delta Company, 6 RAR. Despite being outnumbered ten to one, Australian and South Vietnamese forces managed to repel enemy troops. Delta Company suffered 42 casualties, including 18 dead, while at least 245 enemy troops were killed.
The War Widows' Guild of Australia was formed in 1945 in Victoria to empower, support, inspire and celebrate war widows, carers and families affected by service in the defence forces. The Queensland Branch was established in 1947 and now has more than 26 sub-branches.
Start your journey inside the World War I Memorial Crypt, filled with ornate plaques and stories honouring the service and sacrifice of Queensland-associated battalions, regiments and other units.
Your passage through history continues inside the World War II Gallery, where visitors can explore the Queensland war experience and collection items on large interactive touchscreens, and take the time to view the plaques honouring a range of battalions.
In this gallery you’ll hear more about Queensland’s role during times of war and peacekeeping, see how regional Queensland commemorates Anzac Day and view plaques from post-WWII battalions. Take the time to leave a message to the fallen.