Australian Battlefield Tours



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2018  ANZAC DAY Centenary Villers-Bretonneux

2018 ANZAC DAY Centenary Multi Day & Day Tours

2018 Le Hamel Centenary Tour (July 2018)

 2018 Mont St Quentin Centenary Tour (Sept 2018)

 2018 Armistice Tour  Day Tour ex Paris: 11/11/2018

 2018 Armistice Tour (5N/6D) 'Victory & Peace'

2018 Armistice Tour (5N/6D) 'Armistice Signed'(Dlx)

 2018 Armistice Tour: 11N/12D) 'Cruise, Champagne Country & Battlefields VIP Deluxe Tour' 

 2018  Anzac Footsteps (3N/4D) Tour Series

 **Platinum**  Luxury Battlefield Tours

The Origin of the Poppy

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Australians at War

Australians & WW1

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Post WW2: Korea, Vietnam

Sir John Monash Centre: Villers-Bretonneux: Anzac Day 2018

DVA: Sir John Monash Centre Link:     Cox Architecture (Project Manager) Link:   

STAR-NEWS-30 On high ground adjacent to the small French village of Villers-Bretonneux - opening on Anzac Day 2018 - at the Villers-Bretonneux Australian WW1 War Memorial - is  the Sir John Monash Interpretative Centre, a state-of-the-art visitors' gateway to the Western Front.

Progress Update: December 2017:
The new SJM Interpretive Centre
is firmly on track for the official opening on Anzac Day 2018. It has now been announced that IT WILL BE OPEN to the public on this day, however all tickets to visit the centre are fully booked out on this day. (*Note that all people booked on Spirit of Remembrance tours are automatically pre-booked to attend the centre on this day. Space is STILL AVAILABLE on some of our tours. Ask us for booking details! )

'General Sir John Monash' - Australia's famous and most loved General of WW1:
4 Minute Original WW1 Video: Sir John Monash at his French HQ: Chateau Bertangles

Monash: 'The Forgotten Anzac'
55 Minute video: The Forgotten Anzac: A superb doco-drama: And now.. remembered forever with.... the new Sir John Monash Centre. The new centre is a high-quality building over three levels, partly sunk into the ground, located behind - yet consistent with the imposing Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, just 2km from the town. The centre is intended to become the most enduring consequence of the Australian 2014-18 World War I centenary events.

 The project was conceived and implemented under ex Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot back in 2013. He recognised (when opposition leader in the run-up to the 2013 election) the then quite inadequate official plans for the Australian Great War centenary programs. He and his government decided that something more substantial was essential to focus on the Western Front where more than 46,000 Australians lost their lives.

In opposition Abbott committed to the project. In government he was quick to secure approval, funding, French government co-operation and implementation. It is widely acknowledged that even though today he remains an extremely divisive politician within Australia, this quite unique, 'state of the art' educational memorial centre has come into existence primarily because of the commitment of Abbott, his former office chief, and his cabinet at the time of his prime ministership.

(*In retrospect - look back at 2012 and this newspaper article. It proved to be incredibly correct in hindsight - predicting the new SJM centre and the reasoning for it to be built:)

A Good Read from the Australian...The Australian newspaper says of this historic anniversary: "The 2018 Anzac Day commemoration at Villers-Bretonneux will witness probably the largest influx of Australians into France for a century. (Read the full article here)

While Gallipoli is the totally understandable location of our national preoccupation and birth of the Australian ANZAC legend, it is the Western Front where the toll of sacrifice dwarfed any comparison and where, during the battles of 1918, the Australian Imperial Force played a pivotal and decisive role in the final major encounters to end the war.

The on-site project managers are Caroline Bartlett and Wade Bartlett. The Australian company, Cox Architecture, has the design contract. The concept also involves the separate completion of the original design for the Australian National memorial as conceived by the great British architect Edwin Lutyens, who designed the Villers-Bretonneux memorial for Australia as well as the nearby British Thiepval monument on the Somme, the largest Commonwealth memorial in the world.

The excavation has unearthed 1200 war objects — shovels, helmets, water bottles — some of which will be displayed in the new centre. The centre will contain galleries, a cafe and bookshop. The current access will remain; visitors approach by walking through the cemetery on to the foreground before the national monument with its high tower and take one of the pathways on either side to the visitors centre behind the monument.

**  Progress as at end September 2017: Spirit of Remembrance Recce:

Remembrance and RESPECT of our war dead - is now a modern tourism industry -
inexorably tied to our family history roots, patriotism, our nation and our emotions. It is more powerful than ever, particularly on the WW1 Western Front. Its power is visceral; from the earth itself - and in the myriad small French villages and towns where the young Australians fought - and died in their thousands. Much of this land now 'belongs' forever to  to Australia - if not by government commemorative purchase - then by blood, by respect, and by history. Australian flags dot the villages from Fromelles to Pozieres, from Albert to Villers-Bretonneux and Peronne - and throughout northern France.

Villers-Bretonneux, with its small population of about 3,500 is a quintessential French village - but is hardly chic or fashionable. It is already famous in Australia for its 'Victoria' school (and existing refurbished museum) and the legendary sign in the schoolyard, "Do Not Forget Australia". The new Sir John Monash centre will greatly increase tourism to the town, furthering our commemoration and remembrance of our WW1 diggers.

The new Sir John Monash Centre has been - and continues to - garner fierce criticism in Australia - predominately due to its cost and suitability given our support and care of our modern day diggers. 

However. in closing - we say this. Spend a few days on the WW1 battlefields here in France and Belgium - visit the tens of thousands of silent gravestones - sentinel now - over the final resting places of the brave, bright (larrikin even..) young Aussie volunteers who flocked here for their great adventure - and died alongside their brothers and mates - in their tens of thousands - and whose legacy did indeed CHANGE THE WORLD - and gave us what we take for granted today. Liberty and Freedom. Then visit this pinnacle and the summation of this carnage from our past in the form of this new centre  - and then go home and proudly say - I have been there.                 
Our Unknown Soldier: "He is all of them. And he is one of us"

Villers-Bretonneux Australian War Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France
Villers-Bretonneux Australian War Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France (previous to SJM Centre)
           ** Progress as at end September 2017: Spirit of Remembrance Recce:
Aerial view Villers-Bretonneux Anzac Day service

           Departing Villers-Bretonneux Anzac Day service (previous to SJM Centre build)
      ** Progress as at end September 2017: Spirit of Remembrance Recce:

 Our other Battlefields & Remembrance Websites:
Spirit of Remembrance: Battlefield Tours UK: Battlefield Tours Canada: Battlefield Tours New Zealand: Battlefield Tours USA: Spirit of Malaysia Battlefield Tours:
Anzac Day Villers-Bretonneux Centenary: Armistice Centenary 2018Platinum Battlefield Tours: Death; Mont St Quentin Centenary; Le Hamel Centenary