THREE key commemorative sites overseas – the Sir John Monash Centre, the Australian National Memorial in France, and the Hellfire Pass Interpretive Centre and Memorial Walking Trail in Thailand – have won 2020 Travellers’ Choice Awards on Tripadvisor.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said while the Awards came at a time when Australians could not travel overseas, they were a fitting acknowledgement of special places that tell the story of Australian service and sacrifice.
“Travellers’ Choice Awards go to destinations, attractions and experiences that consistently earn great reviews from travellers and are ranked within the top 10 per cent of properties on Tripadvisor and I am proud that those visiting these places are learning about the contribution of Australians in the First and Second World Wars,” Mr Chester said.
“This year we commemorated 75 years since the end of the Second World War on Victory in the Pacific Day, which gave the Australians an opportunity to learn about those Australians who served so close to our shores.
“The Hellfire Pass Interpretive Centre and Memorial Walking Trail, near Kanchanaburi in Thailand, is dedicated to those Australians and other Allied prisoners of war and Asian labourers who suffered and died at Hellfire Pass and elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region during the Second World War.
“Thousands of forced local labourers and Allied prisoners of war suffered and died constructing and maintaining the Burma-Thailand railway. This site now plays an important part in conveying the hardships endured by so many and offers those who visit a deeply moving experience.
“While the Hellfire Pass Interpretive Centre and Memorial Walking Trail is currently closed to the public due to local coronavirus restrictions, I encourage a virtual visit to both sites, by downloading the Anzac360 app to learn more about this time in our history.”
Set on the grounds of the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery in northern France, and adjacent to the Australian National Memorial, the Sir John Monash Centre provides an engaging and powerful story of Australians in the First World War.
“The Sir John Monash Centre tells Australia’s story of the Western Front in the words of those who served and uses cutting-edge multimedia to reveal the Australian Western Front experience through a series of interactive installations and experiences,” Mr Chester said.
“Inaugurated in 1938, the Australian National Memorial honours the Australians who fought in France and Belgium and those who lie under the battlefields. Listed on its walls are the names of the more than 10,000 Australian casualties who died in France and have no known grave.”
The Anzac360 app brings to life the battlefields of the Western Front during the First World War, and the important stories of the Burma-Thailand Railway.