Tony Abbott at the Canadian War Museum with Dr. Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial

Australia and Canada to mark First World War Centenary

Posted on on 17 June 2014
Share |

Australia's Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has announced that his country and Canada will co-operate to mark the Centenary of the First World War.

Both Australia and Canada were self-governing dominions of the British Empire when the United Kingdom declared war on Germany in 1914.

Although both were automatically drawn into the conflict with the British declaration of war, Australia and Canada quickly reaffirmed their commitment to Britain and the war effort.

Mr. Abbott, who visited Canada earlier this month, said that there would be an increase in co-operation between the Australian War Memorial and the Canadian War Museum over the coming four years as "we commemorate our shared contribution to victory in World War One".

He paid tribute to the relationship between Australia and Canada, saying:

"Australians and Canadians fought side by side in some of the most decisive battles on the Western Front, most significantly the Battle of Amiens in August 1918 that was critical to allied victory".

"Our military forces subsequently fought together in Korea and participated more recently in operations in East Timor and Afghanistan".

The Australian Prime Minister said that it was a "privilege" to be able to visit the Canadian War Museum on his trip to the country, in order to "acknowledge the sacrifice of the more than 60,000 Canadians who died defending freedom during World War One, along with a comparable number of their Australian comrades".

He presented the museum with a set of 32 lithographs of the iconic drawings by William Henry Dyson, depicting images of the Australian soldiers on the Western Front. 

A sign from the Canadian trenches in the 1917 Battle of Messines, which reads ‘Medicine Hat Trail’, was also presented to the museum, where it will remain on extended loan from the Australian War Memorial's collection.

The Prime Minister announced that the two institutions will be working closely on a series of loans for special Centenary exhibitions.

They will also be working with the United Kingdom's Imperial War Museum on a touring exhibition – Dominions at War.

Source: Australian Government press release

Images courtesy of the Prime Minsister of Australia

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News