Michael Sullivan Online


Week 7: Mike Learns Some Australian and World History

CANBERRA AUSTRALIA - 19 June 2000 - The focus of this passed weekend was history. Mike spent almost the whole of Saturday at the Australian War Memorial. Mike started out on a guided tour. We went through a room where Ma'adi told us about the battle of Gallipoli in Turkey during the first stages of World War I. There were many Australian and New Zealand casualties in the battle but those that survived were considered heroes. Afterwards, many of the men were sent to the trenches in France, where more men lost their lives, but they saved many French villages from the Germans. Mike then saw dioramas from detailing the conditions and battles in France and Northern Africa. Mike saw artifacts from the trenches that soldiers had brought back including books and other personal effects that had deflected bullets and saved their lives.

From here, Mike was led to the Hall of Memory, which houses the Pool of Reflection, the eternal flame, the Roll of Honour, and the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier. The Pool of Reflection is towards the front of the Memorial. Towards the back of the pool the Eternal Flame floats. Up the steps and behind this the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier enclosed in a rotunda. Maticulous mosaics cover the walls and the ceiling; Members of the four divisions of the armed forces stand as sentinel that recall the Australian experience of World War II. Light into the area is filtered through stained glass windows with images of soldiers and qualities of those soldiers as well as aspects from the First World War. The dome of the rotunda has the mosaic of hands pushing souls up to heaven. At the centre of the room on the floor lies the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier. Interred here is a soldier that died in France during World War I.

After lunch, Mike reviewed some of the World War I items and started through World War II. After an hour and half, Mike went downstairs and viewed exhibits about the Korean War and Vietnam as well as more recent peace-keeping missions. By this point, Mike was pretty tired and wandered over to the National Carillon to hear a recital and to rest along the lake. Mike found the weather to be gorgeous that day as he layed in the grass resting. After the recital was over, Mike made a quick gaunt up to the Australian-American Memorial. Basically it's a cement pole with an eagle at the top. It was unveiled in 1954 to commemorate the role of the Americans in defending Australia during World War II. From there, a tired Mike walked home sore but knowing more about Australian history as well as world history.

Early on Sunday morning, Mike met Steve, Stacey, Tatia (Steve's fellow teacher) and her family for the Terry Fox Walk. Terry Fox was a Canadian, who had bone cancer that forced him to have one of his legs amputated. Afterwards, he ran half way across Canada running 26 miles (43 km) everyday and raising money for cancer research before the cancer spread to his lungs. After this happened, others took up the cause and had telethons and runs in his honor. In Canberra, the Canadian High Commision organizes this event every year. While Mike didn't run the 10k race, he did walk 5k around Canberra. At the end of the walk, Mike had pancakes with real Canadian maple syrup; almost all that could be heard from Mike was "Uhhhh" and "MMMMM". Unfortunately, Mike could only enjoy one pancake but it was quality and not quantity that mattered. All in all, a good time was had by all. In the afternoon, Mike went grocery shopping and did as little as possible the rest of the day.

Here ends Mike's Seventh Week in Australia.

Links referenced in this week's update:

« Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 »