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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Abbott, Tony

Period of Service: 18/09/2013 - 15/09/2015
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Australia and Canada join forces to commemorate World War One

Today I announced a range of practical steps to increase cooperation between the Australian War Memorial and the Canadian War Museum over the coming four years as we commemorate our shared contribution to victory in World War One.

It was a privilege to visit the Canadian War Museum to acknowledge the sacrifice of the more than 60,000 Canadians who died defending freedom during World War One, along with a comparable number of their Australian comrades.

Australians and Canadians fought side by side in some of the most decisive battles on the Western Front, most significantly the Battle of Amiens in August 1918 that was critical to allied victory.

Our military forces subsequently fought together in Korea and participated more recently in operations in East Timor and Afghanistan.

To mark this shared history I handed over to the Canadian War Museum, on extended loan, the famous ‘Medicine Hat Trail’ sign from the Canadian trenches in the 1917 Battle of Messines, from the Australian War Memorial’s collection.

The Australian War Memorial is also offering to lend the Canadian War Museum William Longstaff’s iconic Menin Gate at Midnight for the forthcoming exhibition in Ottawa on Canadians serving in Belgium during World War One.

I also presented the Canadian War Museum with a set of 32 lithographs of the iconic drawings by William Henry Dyson, depicting arresting images of the Australian soldiers on the Western Front.

Canada and Australia will work jointly with the United Kingdom’s Imperial War Museum on a touring exhibition – “Dominions at War” – to commemorate our collective efforts during World War One.

The two museums have agreed to work closely together on a series of loans for commemorative exhibitions.

Their closer cooperation will ensure the courage and sacrifice of the Australians and Canadians who have fought to defend our freedoms is understood and not forgotten.

8 June 2014