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Do we want a national cemetery in Canberra? [With Poll]

By johnboy - 1 August 2011 40

arlington cemetery

3AW are kicking off proposals from the Victorian RSL to take over a chunk of Lake Burley Griffin foreshore to bury dead servicemen, PMs, and Governors-General.

RSL state president David McLachlan has told Neil Mitchell that A National Cemetery in Canberra has been proposed and is receiving support from around the country.

The cemetery would be similar to the United States’ Arlington Cemetery and would not try to compete with the Australian War Memorial.

The cemetery would be a final resting place for fallen soldiers, veterans, and Prime Ministers.

National Cemetery on the shores of LBG?

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[Photo Credit: Bernt Rostad CC BY]

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40 Responses to
Do we want a national cemetery in Canberra? [With Poll]
Diggety 2:20 pm 01 Aug 11

Although I do appreciate the poll and discussion on the proposal, I don’t think this should be up to Canberrans to decide.

The only reason we are here, earning a living, is because it is the Nations Capital. Canberra exists to serve the rest of the nation, and if that means a memorial/cemetery/museam, etc. So be it.

deye 2:01 pm 01 Aug 11

I would rather we didn’t have one, but if we have to a better place would be on the (probably western) side of Dairy farmer’s hill as part of the arboretum.

wonsworld 1:52 pm 01 Aug 11

They also need to consider the reason the Americans went this way and why Arlington was chosen . We dont have the history of a Civil War in this country.

Arllington was the house and homestead of Robert E Lee, which he abandoned after he took command of the armed forces Virginia and to lead the confederacy. It was only then that it was desigtnated as a place to buy the Union dead.

On a side note it as was returned to his family after the war when the courts found that it was confisgated without the “due process” (the process of civil war not seemingly enough for them) and the son then sold it back to the Govt for a tidy profit.

But this is why Arlington is what it is, not some random location by a river to be set aside as a National Cemetery. Let our fallen be returned to the ones that loved them.

p1 1:44 pm 01 Aug 11

My grandfather is buried beneath your standard issue returned service headstone, as a former serving member of the RAAF. He is also buried with his wife, amongst many of his friends from his later years, in the small town he retired to, and amongst the shade of the gumtrees.

Much preferable in my mind to a centralised cemetery, but I guess if there is demand for it…..

busgirl 1:32 pm 01 Aug 11

Captain RAAF said :

Great idea, should have been started straight after WW1 and we could have captured some of this country’s brightest and best, all in the one place.

Sadly, they are now scattered all over the place, in cemeteries that in 100 years (or less) will happily dig them up, toss them out and sell the plot to someone else or sell the whole place to a housing development.

Arlington National Cemetery is a fantastic place. I have been there twice and there is always a mass of people there. It’s a great experience for anyone, especially the young.

I don’t see a need for the pretty spectacular changing of the guard or anything like that, just a place where young and old soldiers can be put to rest. Keep in mind, Arlington also allows spouses of these people to be burined there also, so you’ll need a good chunk of real estate.

If it comes about, I will go there, in life and in death. I’ve earnt my spot of soil.

I think I’d rather a car racing circuit…

Gungahlin Al 1:24 pm 01 Aug 11

Jethro said :

I like the idea, but not necessarily the location.

+1

Captain RAAF 1:11 pm 01 Aug 11

You’re all missing the point!

A National Cemetery is not for the families of the loved ones to come and pay their respects, it’s much longer term than that!

It’s for future generations to do so, for ancestors of the dead to make a pilgrimage, to educate our young, to remind our politicians, to act as a beacon, whether you view it as a beacon of hope or a reminder of futility it is a reminder all the same.

PBO 1:05 pm 01 Aug 11

I believe that this raises the question of why we dont already have one?

trevar 12:53 pm 01 Aug 11

What? Voting for lifeless prats to send to Canberra every three years isn’t enough for them? Well, as long as the states are paying for it, I don’t see why we should object to increasing our revenue stream from the city’s biggest customer! State funerals should bring pretty decent cashflow, I imagine…

We’ll take your corpses on election day, and we’ll have them back when their bodies die, too!

But economic advantages aside, it hardly seems respectful to dump fallen soldiers and veterans into the same patch of ground as politicians…

Snarky 12:41 pm 01 Aug 11

Don’t like this at all. It seems like an attempt to institutionalise a hero-worship that seems quite wrong. By all means document and celebrate the achievements of all these people and show how their efforts have made Australia as it is today, but don’t we already have a War Memorial, Old Parliament House and the National Museum for this?

At the end, every one of the people the RSL want to stick in this grotesque permanent display are pretty much just … us! They lived all over the country, had family, friends and relations in cities or towns we may not have visited or even heard of, but which influenced them as much as they influenced the nation. Let they and their families decide where in this huge country their earthly remains should lie – not whisk them off to a foreign cold lake shore in Canberra!

intaba 12:39 pm 01 Aug 11

Why have a centralised cemetery at all, other than the photo-ops provided by something as regimented as Arlington? I would think most people would want their loved ones buried in their home town or close to the family that will remember them, not have to travel to Canberra eveytime they wanted to pay their respects.

Captain RAAF 12:39 pm 01 Aug 11

Great idea, should have been started straight after WW1 and we could have captured some of this country’s brightest and best, all in the one place.

Sadly, they are now scattered all over the place, in cemeteries that in 100 years (or less) will happily dig them up, toss them out and sell the plot to someone else or sell the whole place to a housing development.

Arlington National Cemetery is a fantastic place. I have been there twice and there is always a mass of people there. It’s a great experience for anyone, especially the young.

I don’t see a need for the pretty spectacular changing of the guard or anything like that, just a place where young and old soldiers can be put to rest. Keep in mind, Arlington also allows spouses of these people to be burined there also, so you’ll need a good chunk of real estate.

If it comes about, I will go there, in life and in death. I’ve earnt my spot of soil.

MrMagoo 12:34 pm 01 Aug 11

Over the years there have been some utterly stupid ideas tossed around, but this one has merit. As the son of a Returned Serviceman, I like the idea. Location is possibly something to conider a little more closely but as suggestions go, we are the National Capital after all people.

neanderthalsis 12:25 pm 01 Aug 11

I think that the Wall of Remembrance at the AWM is sufficient and much more poignant. Let those killed in the line of duty be buried somewhere accessible to their loved ones instead of at a USA style centralised cemetery.

As for dead PM’s, lumping them into the same category as servicemen is an insult! If I were still in the green machine, the possibility of being buried next to Gough Whitlam would be more than enough incentive not to get dead.

Jethro 12:17 pm 01 Aug 11

I like the idea, but not necessarily the location.

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