Launceston War Cemetery r
The Office of Australian War Graves The role of the Office of Australian War Graves (OAWG) is: •
To officially commemorate, in conjunction with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), those men or women of Australia’s Armed forces, the Merchant Navy or auxiliary organisations who have died in war or on operational service;
To officially commemorate eligible veterans who have died post-war or conflict and whose deaths are accepted as being caused by their service; and
To provide and maintain national war memorials overseas.
The program of Official Commemoration is the formal way in which Australia pays respect to its war dead. Official commemoration can take the form of a memorial in a general or lawn cemetery, in a crematorium, or in an OAWG Garden of Remembrance (located in all capital cities as well as Launceston and Townsville). There are over 67,000 Australian war dead in identified graves in around the world. Another 35,000 whose remains were never found or who lie in unidentified graves, or whose remains were cremated, are commemorated on cremation memorials or Memorials to the Missing. In Australia, there are over 12,000 war dead buried in hundreds of war and civil cemeteries and crematoria with over 1,000 named on Memorials to the Missing. Approximately 300,000 veterans who have died post-war of causes related to their service are also commemorated across Australia in civil cemeteries, crematoria or in the OAWG Gardens of Remembrance.
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History of the Office of Australian War Graves In 1917 the Imperial War Graves Commission (later the CWGC), of which Australia was a foundation member, was established to commemorate the war dead of the Commonwealth. The Commission is tasked with the responsibility for the commemoration of members of the Commonwealth forces who died during the period of the two world wars. Official commemoration was broadened in Australia through a Cabinet Decision in 1922 which extended eligibility to veterans whose death following the war was accepted by the Repatriation Commission as being related to their war service. Subsequent Government decisions have provided a similar entitlement to military veterans of subsequent wars and peacekeeping operations. The Directorate of War Graves Services initially carried out the placement and maintenance of official commemorations in Australia. War cemeteries were not established in Australia until the Second World War and it was only at the end of the Second World War that the Anzac Agency of the CWGC was established to assume the CWGC’s responsibilities in Australia and some Pacific regions.
The Last Post magazine - Autumn 2012 - Anzac Day Special