The Royal Australian Regiment’s National Memorial Walk is a ‘living” memorial to commemorate those RAR soldiers who died while serving overseas on operational service with The Regiment. Its motto is “Keeping the Spirit Alive”.
Many of the Regiment’s known dead are buried overseas in Japan and Korea. Some remain missing in action presumed dead in Korea.
The Walk which is located within Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera, Brisbane Qld provides a place of solace and focus within Australia for the commemoration of the service and sacrifices made by our men.
It has become a special place for RAR current serving and past serving persons and their families and friends of The Royal Australian Regiment to visit.
To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Regiment’s formation, The Royal Australian Regiment Association built the National Memorial Walk and Contemplation Building at Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera, Queensland, from funds provided by public donation, assistance from the Federal and Queensland Governments, Brisbane City Council, the RAR Foundation and RAR State and Unit Associations’ members.
The Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia, His Excellency Sir William Deane, AC KBE dedicated it in memory of our fallen comrades on Sunday 22 November 1998.
The inscription on the entrance stones at both the north and south entrances to the Walk says:
“In Australia they will remember me. Here is their spirit, in the land they loved. And here we guard the record which they themselves made.” – G.E.W. Bean, Official War Historian.
And here we, the RAR National Association accept responsibility on behalf of The Royal Australian Regiment to maintain our National Memorial Walk as the showpiece and home of The Regimental Spirit.”
The National Memorial Walk comprises three areas:
- The Contemplation Building, provides a place for contemplation and remembrance and commemorative services for community remembrance activities on ANZAC Day, Remembrance Day, anniversaries of Battle Honours, Campaigns, Unit birthdays and re-unions. It displays the Honour Board that records the names of those who died in service overseas. On its forecourt, are a number of RAR Battalion Plaques that record the names of those persons from other Australian and other Nations’ Services who while supporting that Unit were killed in action. At the base of the flagpole, is a plaque that commemorates those who died while training in Australia. An information kiosk (touch screen) allows visitors to locate the individual’s memorial plaque and tree.
- The Walk – The Memorial Garden. The Walk consists of an avenue 700 meters long flanked by more than 1000 native Australian trees. It is divided into the RAR’s operational theatre areas (Japan, Korea, Malaya, Malaysia – Sarawak, Vietnam, Somalia, The Solomons, East Timor/Timor Leste, Iraq and Afghanistan) in which the memorial plaques/trees are located. At the base of selected trees is an individual plaque bearing the name and details of each of the 706 members of the Regiment who died on overseas service.
- The Recreational Area (Diggers’ Rest). It is the social gathering point for many activities. Within this area are the Regiment’s Battle Honour Gardens and a memorial to our Infantry war dogs.
The NMW concept originated with WO1 Mick Servos OAM, a Korean War veteran, who after visiting Australian soldiers’ gravesites in Korea decided to organise a memorial tree grove at Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera, home to most RAR units that served in Korea.
A NMW Building Committee was formed and in 1966 work commenced on Army approved land with funds provided by public donation, assistance from the Federal and Queensland Governments, Brisbane City Council, RAR State and Unit Association members and the Defence community.
Plantings began on 9th November 1966 with almost 1000 trees planted by members of The RAR Association Queensland, RAR Battalion Associations and their wives and families. The trees donated by the Brisbane City Council were chosen with advice from Greening Australia and planted in operational areas to represent similar landscapes in those operational theatres.
In November 1997 the then Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, The Hon. Tim Fischer (a member of The Regiment and veteran of the Vietnam War) unveiled a plaque to represent the official opening of the NMW.
The Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia, His Excellency Sir William Deane AC KBE, dedicated the NMW on 22 November 1998 as part of The Regiment’s 50th Anniversary.
The Memorial has been continuously maintained by a dedicated group of RAR Association volunteers called Dads’ Army. They also provide escorts to the visitors who come from Australia and overseas come to reflect in its quiet, leafy surrounds.