As the centenary of the First World War (1914–1918) starts in 2014 it is only right and fitting that all Australians - wherever possible - make the pilgrimage to the WW1 Western Front and learn of the immense sacrifices and amazing bravery of over 46,000 young Australians who lost their lives here, along with over 124,000 men terribly wounded on this horrific killing ground. Many say it was here and at Gallipolli that our unique Australian national identity was born - as one country - one nation.
To help visitors understand Australia's enormous sacrifice to the Allied war effort on the Western Front in WW1, along with individual stories of those who served, the Australian Department of Veterans' Affairs in partnership with local French and Belgian communities has developed the Australian Remembrance Trail, which will be fully completed by the centenary of WW1.
The Trail covers twelve different sites in Belgium and France along with other significant locations, from Passchendaele in Belgium down to the area of some of the AIF's last actions in France around Péronne in 1918. The project builds on the remarkable efforts of many local people in France and Belgium over nearly a century, honouring and commemorating Australians on the Western Front. The aim of the Remembrance Trail is to improve visitors' understanding and appreciation of the achievements and sacrifices of Australians in this main theatre of conflict during WW1.
At each of the twelve locations you can listen to a unique 5 minute audio cast of this moment in time, with each of the audio casts downloaded to your phone, tablet or laptop either on location - on the spot or at home before you travel. You will also be able to view illustrated summaries of each of the main Australian battles, with the full experience enabling you to virtually travel back in time to experience these ferocious battles for yourself.
The 12 different sites for the WW1 Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front:
Site 1: lper (Ypres), Belgium
Site 2: Tyne Cot Cemetery, Zonnebeke, Belgium
Site 3: Toronto Avenue Cemetery, – Ploegsteert Wood, Belgium
Site 4: VC Corner Australian Cemetery and Memorial – Fromelles, France
Site 5: The Bullecourt Digger – Bullecourt, France
Site 6: Thiepval Memorial – Thiepval, France
Site 7: First Australian Division Memorial – Pozières, France
Site 8: The Windmill – Pozières, France
Site 9: Australian National Memorial – Villers-Bretonneux, France
Site 10: Australian Corps Memorial – Le Hamel, France
Site 11: The Second Australian Division Memorial, Mont St Quentin, and the town of Péronne, France
Site 12: Fourth Australian Division Memorial – Bellenglise, France
* Spirit of Remembrance recommends the experts for self drive WW1 battlefield tours in France and Belgium: Somme Battlefield Tours Ltd - who will be more than happy to 'tailor make' a "self drive" Australian Remembrance Trail Battlefield Tour for you, taking in all these sites plus other areas of great significance for Australians.