HER I TA G E
H I S T O R Y
Not far from Fromelles is the Australian Memorial Park, site of the sculpture ‘Cobber’ by Peter Corlett. This sculpture depicts Sergeant Simon Fraser of 57th Battalion, a 40-year-old Victorian farmer turned soldier, who rescued many men from the battlefield and was himself among the 10,000 Australians killed at Bullecourt in 1917. Several key sites on the Australian Remembrance Trail lie in the Somme, where four Australian military divisions accomplished some of the finest feats of arms in 1916 and 1918. At Villers-Bretonneux (affectionately known as ‘VB’), the Franco Australian Museum, commemorating the crucial battle fought there by Australians in April 1918, is being overhauled in time for its role as the principal Australian site during next year’s centenary events in Europe. To plan your visit, see Australians on the Western Front (www.ww1westernfront.gov. au) or Somme Battlefields (www.somme-battlefields.com). The Australian National Memorial, where the Anzac Day dawn service takes place, is also located here (www.anzac-france.com). Visitors to Pozières and nearby Mouquet Farm can see the sites of remembrance where three Australian divisions sustained 23,000 casualties in just over six weeks in 1916 – losses similar in scale to those at Gallipoli in 1915. The site, where the remains of the Gibraltar blockhouse can be found, has been enhanced in time for the centenary, with an observation platform, parking and more. The area has several other noteworthy relics including the Windmill site, described by the nation’s official historian, Charles Bean, as ‘a ridge more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth.’ At Mont Saint Quentin and Péronne, visitors can tour several more Australian war sites and learn more about the part Australian diggers played in the battle, which contributed to the final defeat of the Germans on the Western Front. The Historial (Museum of the Great War in Péronne, www.historial.org) features a new room dedicated to the capture of Mont Saint Quentin and the liberation of Péronne. The Trail also includes the Australian Corps Memorial at Le Hamel commemorating the Corps’ victory under the leadership of General John Monash in the battle of 4 July 1918. This iconic conquest became the model for future Allied operations on the Western Front. –P.N.
DE STIN ATION
PO RT RAIT
From top: Anzac Day dawn service at the Australian National Memorial (photo: Baie Attitude); statue of the Cobber of Fromelles at the Australian Memorial Park (photo: Sophie Flament).
FURTHER INFORMATION: Australians on the Western Front www.ww1westernfront.gov.au
Published on Jun 20, 2013
The official magazine of the French Tourist Bureau in Australia. From the grit and excitement of the Tour de France to the glamour of its ma...