Commemorations in Gardens of Remembrance

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A distinctively Australian way of commemorating our war-dead and those who died post-war or conflict is with a memorial in an Office of Australian War Graves (OAWG) Garden of Remembrance.

The Gardens have been especially created as places of official commemoration. They make it possible for us to privately commemorate our loved ones with a private memorial at the place where they lie and also have an official commemoration for them at a Garden of Remembrance [1], in the company of others who served, and at a place of beauty and peace that is under constant care.

A memorial in an OAWG Garden of Remembrance may be the right choice when:

  • There is already an existing private memorial to the veteran or other family members at a cemetery or crematorium.
  • The veteran's ashes have been or are to be scattered or retained, or the location of the remains is unknown.
  • It is not possible to comply with the preferred cemetery or crematorium's requirements.
  • A memorial at the place of burial could not or cannot be maintained to an acceptable standard, either because it is extremely remote or the cemetery has been abandoned or becomes derelict.
  • It is important to the family that there is a memorial that reflects more personal information about the veteran than is possible with one uniform official memorial. A private memorial at the place of interment can fill this need, with the uniform memorial in the Garden being in addition to this.
  • It is important to the family that the veteran is officially commemorated in the company of fellow veterans and the commemoration is in well kept and beautiful surroundings.

There are now Gardens of Remembrance in every Australian capital city, and in Townsville and Launceston. They are usually located near the major war cemeteries or public cemeteries. View a list of Gardens of Remembrance and their locations.

Tranquil, green sanctuaries, the gardens have been sympathetically designed and landscaped with commemoration in mind. Flowers and plants that thrive in the area are set amongst the plaque walls, features and artwork with themes related to service and Australia at war. Shelters and quiet places to sit can be found at each garden – visitors are encouraged to stay for a little, and remember.

If you are thinking of choosing an official commemoration at an OAWG Garden of Remembrance but live some distance from one or otherwise cannot visit, remember that a photo can be taken of the memorial plaque for you.

See: Photos of graves and memorials

 Western Australian Garden of Remembrance  Victorian Garden of Remembrance  A visitor to the North Queensland Garden of Remembrance
 Western Australian Garden of Remembrance  Victorian Garden of Remembrance  A visitor to the North Queensland Garden of Remembrance

Inscription

Every memorial plaque is made from cast bronze and displays the veteran's:

  • Service Badge
  • initials and surname
  • Service number (if applicable)
  • rank and unit in which the veteran served (if the veteran served in more than one unit only one can be inscribed)
  • date of death and age at death (age is optional for post-war commemorations).

However, only memorial grave plaques (general or lawn cemeteries) may include also a religious emblem and personal inscription. Crematorium and Garden of Remembrance memorials do not have space for these.

See: Commemoration in cemeteries or crematoria

What is included

When a memorial in a Garden of Remembrance is chosen as the official commemoration, the inscribed cast bronze memorial plaque itself is provided by OAWG, together with its maintenance in perpetuity, in a Garden which is under constant care and supervision.

If you are unable to visit the Garden, a photo of the memorial can be taken for you.

Do remember that there is no provision for the placement of ashes or remains at OAWG Gardens of Remembrance. The memorial in the Garden is an alternative to an official memorial at the place of burial or cremation. Any private memorial and the disposal of the remains is the responsibility of the next-of-kin.

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Time

A memorial plaque in a Garden of Remembrance can be added at any time, provided the veteran or service person is eligible for official commemoration and is not already officially commemorated elsewhere.

Once OAWG receives the necessary forms, allow three months to complete the memorial.

See: Eligibility for a post-war commemoration

Personal touches

If it is important to the family that their veteran's memorial reflect more about their loved one than is possible with a single official memorial, a memorial in a Garden of Remembrance in addition to an individual private memorial is the best choice.

The principles of official commemoration apply to all commemorations of Australian war dead and post-war dead. Equality and uniformity, regardless of rank, creed, civil or military status, is at the heart of official commemoration. This is why the memorial inscriptions all contain the same details.

See: Principles of official commemoration

Footnotes
  1. There is no provision for the placement of ashes or remains at OAWG Gardens of Remembrance. A memorial at the Garden is an alternative to a memorial at the place of burial or cremation. Any private memorial and the disposal of the remains is the responsibility of the next-of-kin.   Back to text