Skip to content Skip to main navigation

News

Chamberlains - complete legal services for business

Disrespect and impudence at one of Australia’s most sacred sites

By Alexandra Craig - 29 July 2014 44

australian-war-memorial

The Australian War Memorial would not be unfamiliar to most Australians, especially Canberrans. We have all been there on at least one occasion, some of us who aren’t Canberra natives most likely would have visited on our Year 6 excursion to Canberra. Perhaps some of us visited with elderly grandparents or other family members who wished to pay their respects. The Australian War Memorial is a national icon, recently named the number one landmark in Australia, and was number seventeen on the worldwide list as voted on TripAdvisor.

The first time I ever visited the Australian War Memorial was in 2002, on a school visit to Canberra. My classmates and I were all very solemn and even a little bit spooked by how eerie and sombre the Memorial can be at times. We visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to pay our respects and our little sneaker-clad feet tiptoed in as quietly as possible. Our teachers had given us very stern instructions to not even speak a word while we were in there – I have memories of holding my breath for as long as I could because I thought that maybe even breathing loudly would be disrespectful.

As we cautiously approached the Tomb, daring not to even blink, my school friends and I could see that there were footprints all over it. Even as an 11 year old I was surprised, curious and a little bit disgusted at this sight. Who did these footprints belong to? Who would have the nerve to walk over the top of anyone’s tomb, let alone the tomb of a soldier that fought and died for the freedom and beautiful standard of living that we enjoy today, almost 100 years on.

Australian War Memorial

Fast forward to 2014 where I am now living in Canberra and visiting the War Memorial on a weekend. The footprints still remain on the tomb. Presumably these are not the exact same footprints that were there 12 years ago, but there are still dirty, muddy footprints all over an incredibly sacred site. Who are the individuals that think it is acceptable to do this and why has the tomb itself not been cordoned off so people do not have the access to trample across it? I know that we should not have to resort to cordoning off the area around the Tomb just because of disrespectful and rude behaviour by the absolute minority, but I think it is completely impertinent that this has been allowed to continue.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier represents the many young men who left their families to fight for their country, as well as the wonderful female nurses who aided for the sick and wounded, who never returned home. These brave Australians deserve a lasting monument. A monument that is respected by all, deserving an eternal dignity to those who fought and fell.

What can the Australian War Memorial do about this? Aside from cordoning off the area, the only other apparent option is to have a security guard or Memorial official onsite during business hours to keep watch. However, given that the Memorial is funded by the Government and by donations from the general public, I know some may suggest that a full-time wage for a security guard would not be financially tenable.

However, if a crowd fund was created in order to allow for a security guard to keep a close watch on the tomb during business hours I would be the first in line to contribute.

(Photo of ‘Tomb of the Unknown Soldier’ courtesy of the Australian War Memorial website)

What’s Your opinion?


Please login to post your comments
44 Responses to
Disrespect and impudence at one of Australia’s most sacred sites
1
gladbag 11:13 am
29 Jul 14
#

By locking something up you are not automatically ensuring respect, just the impression of it. Everyone shows respect differently, and just because they do not do it in the way that you feel is just, does not make it wrong. Trying to control others by making them behave how you want is a dangerous path to tread. Live and let live. We are not all the same

Report this comment

2
Alexandra Craig 11:20 am
29 Jul 14
#

gladbag said :

By locking something up you are not automatically ensuring respect, just the impression of it. Everyone shows respect differently, and just because they do not do it in the way that you feel is just, does not make it wrong. Trying to control others by making them behave how you want is a dangerous path to tread. Live and let live. We are not all the same

So essentially what you are saying is that if people want to trample over a tomb of someone who fought for our freedom, that’s okay if that’s their way of showing respect?

I also never said to ‘lock’ it up. I suggested that cordoning off the area of the plaque might stop people walking all over it.

Report this comment

3
switch 11:25 am
29 Jul 14
#

gladbag said :

By locking something up you are not automatically ensuring respect, just the impression of it.

Too right. Remember when they used to make a big deal about how parliament should not be above the people on tours of New Parliament House? Try walking over the green space now, without having to ask permission first! What sort of “right” is that?

Report this comment

4
Masquara 11:42 am
29 Jul 14
#

Alexandra Craig said :

gladbag said :

By locking something up you are not automatically ensuring respect, just the impression of it. Everyone shows respect differently, and just because they do not do it in the way that you feel is just, does not make it wrong. Trying to control others by making them behave how you want is a dangerous path to tread. Live and let live. We are not all the same

So essentially what you are saying is that if people want to trample over a tomb of someone who fought for our freedom, that’s okay if that’s their way of showing respect?

I also never said to ‘lock’ it up. I suggested that cordoning off the area of the plaque might stop people walking all over it.

Cordoning off would be the worst possible option. Awful.

The tomb is about 500 paces from the nearest mud – so mud isn’t being trekked in there. I’d say it’s just a trick of the light, where a cleaner’s mop has left wet dust traces.

Report this comment

5
Alexandra Craig 11:57 am
29 Jul 14
#

Masquara said :

Alexandra Craig said :

gladbag said :

By locking something up you are not automatically ensuring respect, just the impression of it. Everyone shows respect differently, and just because they do not do it in the way that you feel is just, does not make it wrong. Trying to control others by making them behave how you want is a dangerous path to tread. Live and let live. We are not all the same

So essentially what you are saying is that if people want to trample over a tomb of someone who fought for our freedom, that’s okay if that’s their way of showing respect?

I also never said to ‘lock’ it up. I suggested that cordoning off the area of the plaque might stop people walking all over it.

The tomb is about 500 paces from the nearest mud – so mud isn’t being trekked in there. I’d say it’s just a trick of the light, where a cleaner’s mop has left wet dust traces.

I know I’ve seen footprints though (as in, the distinctive print of a shoe), it’s not just from a mop.

Perhaps if it’s a rainy day the moisture on shoes is mixing with the dust that’s already on the plaque?

Report this comment

6
Alexandra Craig 11:59 am
29 Jul 14
#

switch said :

gladbag said :

By locking something up you are not automatically ensuring respect, just the impression of it.

Too right. Remember when they used to make a big deal about how parliament should not be above the people on tours of New Parliament House? Try walking over the green space now, without having to ask permission first! What sort of “right” is that?

I’m a bit confused by your comment… Do you mean the grassy hills at APH or the rooftop maybe?

Report this comment

7
Holden Caulfield 12:51 pm
29 Jul 14
#

Alexandra Craig said :

switch said :

gladbag said :

By locking something up you are not automatically ensuring respect, just the impression of it.

Too right. Remember when they used to make a big deal about how parliament should not be above the people on tours of New Parliament House? Try walking over the green space now, without having to ask permission first! What sort of “right” is that?

I’m a bit confused by your comment… Do you mean the grassy hills at APH or the rooftop maybe?

The rooftop, which is mostly covered in grass. For the first 15 years or so after APH opened you could walk right over the building from the outside with no need to access the roof from inside after passing through a security screen.

I can understand why security feels a need to check you out these days, but it’s still a little over the top (pardon the pun) and the building has lost something unique.

Report this comment

8
Holden Caulfield 12:54 pm
29 Jul 14
#

“…Who are the individuals that think it is acceptable to do this and why has the tomb itself not been cordoned off so people do not have the access to trample across it? I know that we should not have to resort to cordoning off the area around the Tomb just because of disrespectful and rude behaviour by the absolute minority, but I think it is completely impertinent that this has been allowed to continue…”

So essentially what you are saying there should be a rope all the way around Uluru?

Report this comment

9
Alexandra Craig 1:00 pm
29 Jul 14
#

Holden Caulfield said :

Alexandra Craig said :

switch said :

gladbag said :

By locking something up you are not automatically ensuring respect, just the impression of it.

Too right. Remember when they used to make a big deal about how parliament should not be above the people on tours of New Parliament House? Try walking over the green space now, without having to ask permission first! What sort of “right” is that?

I’m a bit confused by your comment… Do you mean the grassy hills at APH or the rooftop maybe?

The rooftop, which is mostly covered in grass. For the first 15 years or so after APH opened you could walk right over the building from the outside with no need to access the roof from inside after passing through a security screen.

I can understand why security feels a need to check you out these days, but it’s still a little over the top (pardon the pun) and the building has lost something unique.

Ahh right.

Well, I guess they do it for security reasons. I don’t think it’s got anything to do with respect.

The roof can be accessed from inside the building, so if you were to let people walk across the top they would be able to get inside APH without any security screening.

Report this comment

10
Holden Caulfield 1:13 pm
29 Jul 14
#

Alexandra Craig said :

The roof can be accessed from inside the building, so if you were to let people walk across the top they would be able to get inside APH without any security screening.

Yeah, because you can just walk through any door you see, no matter where it is, whenever you like. It is a door after all.

Report this comment

11
Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 5:08 pm
29 Jul 14
#

Alexandra Craig said :

gladbag said :

By locking something up you are not automatically ensuring respect, just the impression of it. Everyone shows respect differently, and just because they do not do it in the way that you feel is just, does not make it wrong. Trying to control others by making them behave how you want is a dangerous path to tread. Live and let live. We are not all the same

So essentially what you are saying is that if people want to trample over a tomb of someone who fought for our freedom, that’s okay if that’s their way of showing respect?

I also never said to ‘lock’ it up. I suggested that cordoning off the area of the plaque might stop people walking all over it.

I think you are confusing your world wars.

No soldier died protecting our freedom in ww1.

In anycase, maybe it’s a child who doesn’t know better, or a disabled person. I don’t think anyone is going to purposely walk over a tomb just to be dis respectful.

Report this comment

12
dungfungus 8:14 am
30 Jul 14
#

The AWM can blame their adoption of “cultural correctness” for the disrespect in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
In 2007 I visited the AWM with a friend from Melbourne. We we paying our respects in the Tomb when a man and his son came in.
The teenage boy was wearing a baseball cap. My friend approached him and explained to him that is was most disrespectful to wear a hat in such a place. The boy begrudgingly removed it and then complained to his father who then spoke to my friend, thanking him for explaining to his son what respect meant as he had already been unsuccessful in telling the lad himself.
My friend then spoke with the AWM attendant who had been totally passive during the “discussions”.
My friend asked why she (the attendant) had not intervened regarding the wearing of the hat.
She explained that the AWM’s policy was now to allow headwear to be worn in the Tomb so as “cultural customs” were observed. She declined to discuss the matter further.
Shortly after, a group of Japanese men (tourists) entered the Tomb. My friend stood just inside the door and flicked off their baseball caps as they entered. They immediately understood and they were
humble in their actions.
If there is ever going to be a third world war, we have already lost it.

Report this comment

13
dungfungus 8:25 am
30 Jul 14
#

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd said :

Alexandra Craig said :

gladbag said :

By locking something up you are not automatically ensuring respect, just the impression of it. Everyone shows respect differently, and just because they do not do it in the way that you feel is just, does not make it wrong. Trying to control others by making them behave how you want is a dangerous path to tread. Live and let live. We are not all the same

So essentially what you are saying is that if people want to trample over a tomb of someone who fought for our freedom, that’s okay if that’s their way of showing respect?

I also never said to ‘lock’ it up. I suggested that cordoning off the area of the plaque might stop people walking all over it.

I think you are confusing your world wars.

No soldier died protecting our freedom in ww1.

In anycase, maybe it’s a child who doesn’t know better, or a disabled person. I don’t think anyone is going to purposely walk over a tomb just to be dis respectful.

Until WWII, WWI was known only as “The Great War”.

Report this comment

14
Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 10:42 am
30 Jul 14
#

dungfungus said :

The AWM can blame their adoption of “cultural correctness” for the disrespect in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
In 2007 I visited the AWM with a friend from Melbourne. We we paying our respects in the Tomb when a man and his son came in.
The teenage boy was wearing a baseball cap. My friend approached him and explained to him that is was most disrespectful to wear a hat in such a place. The boy begrudgingly removed it and then complained to his father who then spoke to my friend, thanking him for explaining to his son what respect meant as he had already been unsuccessful in telling the lad himself.
My friend then spoke with the AWM attendant who had been totally passive during the “discussions”.
My friend asked why she (the attendant) had not intervened regarding the wearing of the hat.
She explained that the AWM’s policy was now to allow headwear to be worn in the Tomb so as “cultural customs” were observed. She declined to discuss the matter further.
Shortly after, a group of Japanese men (tourists) entered the Tomb. My friend stood just inside the door and flicked off their baseball caps as they entered. They immediately understood and they were
humble in their actions.
If there is ever going to be a third world war, we have already lost it.

Not sure who your friend thinks he is that he feels he has the right to act in such a disgraceful manner.

Report this comment

15
Maya123 11:15 am
30 Jul 14
#

dungfungus said :

Shortly after, a group of Japanese men (tourists) entered the Tomb. My friend stood just inside the door and flicked off their baseball caps as they entered. They immediately understood and they were humble in their actions.

Flicking off other people’s hats. How rude! Hats off is a more, I believe, a generational thing, rather than rude. Older people would see this as respectful, while younger people wouldn’t. Respect would be seen more in being quiet and thoughtful. The hat is not so important. These days they are worn inside, while in the past they weren’t. That’s where taking off the hat comes from for the older generation. The style of hat is also different these days.
Men would also take off their hat for a ‘lady’. If a man did this for me today I would think him a little strange. The same if he ran ahead to open the door for me. (First one there politely holds it open for the other.)

Report this comment

1 2 3

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2016 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.

Search across the site