109

A plaque within this memorial, on ANZAC Parade,  provides a brief history of the Korean War and Australia’s involvement there-in. I reproduce that in full here for the interest of readers of this page.

The Korean War was the first occasion that members of the United Nations acted collectively to repel aggression. Australian units served in combat from 1950 to 1953 and continued in Korea from the armistice to 1957 as part of the United Nations Command to preserve the independence of the Republic of Korea.

From September 1950, and following the amphibious landing at Inchon and the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter, the multinational force cleared South Korea and advanced into North Korea towards the border with China. In November 1950 after the Chinese entry to the war, the UN ground forces faced Chinese offences which forced them to retreat in appalling winter conditions to positions south of the 38th parallel.

With a continuous front from sea to sea, the dramatic advances and withdrawals of the first six months came to an end. After early 1951 offensives and counter offensives the war entered a phase of contesting heavily defended emplacements along the front which eventually became the cease fire line. Despite the first initiatives in 1951 to end the war it dragged on until 27 July 1953 when an armistice was signed.

From 29 June 1950 to 27 July 1953, some 17000 Australian sailors, soldiers and airmen served in the Korean War. Australian casualties were 339 killed, 1216 wounded and 29 prisoners of war. Twenty other countries contributed combat and medical units to the United Nations command in Korea.

Australian sailors, soldiers and airmen won world respect for their courage, endurance and combat skills. The service of a small group of Australians in the years 1950 to 1953, and the sacrifice of those who did not return are not forgotten.

 

This memorial commemorates the 339 Australians who died and honours those who served in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953.

112The boulder forming the focal point of the memorial is from a Korean battlefield and the word in Korean script translates as ‘Peace and Independence’. Those who died and have no known grave are commemorated by the obelisk while the two fields of poles symbolise those Australians who died with the three figures representing sailors, soldiers and airmen who served in Korea. The use of white and gray and granite and gravel and cold steel recall the harsh climate and terrain of Korea.

Sculptor, Les Kossatz and the architectural firm, Daryl Jackson Pty Ltd. designed the memorial to a statement of requirements by the Australian National Korean War Memorial Committee.

The Memorial was dedicated on 18th April 2000 in the presence of Governor General, Sir William Deane and Prime Minister John Howard. His Excellency Kim Dae-Jung, President of the Republic of Korea attended a ground breaking ceremony in 1999.

I find this monument a very poignant reminder of a war that, at least legally, continues to this day. The 1953 armistice has never been converted to a declaration to end the war. Not surprisingly, I got a very different account of the Korean War on my 2014 trip to North Korea.

Address: ANZAC Parade


For my next CANBERRA – AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL, ANZAC PARADE review click HERE.
For other Canberra reviews click HERE.


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