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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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Do we want a national cemetery in Canberra? [With Poll]
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Captain RAAF 6:47 pm 04 Aug 11

I-filed said :

We can’t have an Arlington in Australia for this reason: the US has a massive underclass of migrants who keep lawns mown and the headstones at Arlington free of weeds and rubbish. The cost of maintaining a war cemetary in Canberra would be prohibitive.

Chain gangs are the answer!

I-filed 6:20 pm 04 Aug 11

We can’t have an Arlington in Australia for this reason: the US has a massive underclass of migrants who keep lawns mown and the headstones at Arlington free of weeds and rubbish. The cost of maintaining a war cemetary in Canberra would be prohibitive.

smiling politely 10:15 am 02 Aug 11

I kind of can’t help thinking about the cenotaphs you see in every country town and in our cities. The men and women of our armed forces were born in our communities, learned in our communities, lived in our communities and served for our communities. It is a community responsibility to embrace and honour their sacrifice in return – a small and worthy price.

Has the RSL undertaken an extensive survey of its membership to hear what the views of our current and former servicemen and women actually are about this? Are the start-up and ongoing expenses justified given the priority of ensuring that we’re properly looking after them and their families? I just can’t see it happening.

Thumper 8:25 am 02 Aug 11

I’m not really sure where I stand on this one, given that i lived in the US for three years and am generally against great shows of patriotism as displayed by the Americans.

However, depending on the ctiteria I could book my dad a plot, and myself.

creative_canberran 12:24 am 02 Aug 11

Someone tell the crypto-fascists of the RSL to go to hell. Tell them to go back to doing what they’re meant to and looking after returned service people. Tell them to get their nose out of politics, monuments, planning and social commentary.

Snarky 11:30 pm 01 Aug 11

Jethro said :

Captain RAAF said :

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.

+1 (I can’t believe I +1’d Captain RAAF)

It is a shame this wasn’t done from day dot. It would be a real national treasure for generations to come.

Just as a matter of interest has anyone looked at the 3AW page talking about this idea? The Victorian RSL state president David McLachlan whose idea this is costs it at $200 million. The War Memorial (whose function it is “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.”) currently runs on less than half of that according to their annual report and provides a great deal more education and commemoration than a nicely manicured lawn and headstones ever will.

Nope, not a good idea at all. If the Victorian RSL have $200M in spare change kicking around they should give it to the WM and be done with it. And if its our taxpayers money they’re casually flashing about, they can… well, they should probably be prepared for some robust criticism.

L_Observer 10:36 pm 01 Aug 11

Why restrict it to just servicemen, PMs and Governors-General? What about other contributors to our culture (e.g. Fred Hollows). After all, the Pantheon in Paris is a very cool monument housing great military and non-military French people. (As the French did, you can still move the graves to a national site).

astrojax 10:21 pm 01 Aug 11

well, why not – australia has macdonald’s, pulp television, most people think they have the right to one phone call when arrested – hell, let’s have a national institution to inter our famous deceased like l’america does, too… we’ll be wanting a president soon.

from what i heard of the vic rsl rep this afternoon, no such location is being suggested by the idea’s proponents. i wonder why they don’t put such a plot in a larger city to ensure maximum exposure – canberra has its memorials to the dead but i don’t believe we need to have the dead themselves: let those lie with their families in their own communities.

mirage3 9:29 pm 01 Aug 11

I don’t really like this because most of our men who fell during wartime are interred in Commonwealth War Graves on the battle sites where they fell. Leave them with their mates.

merlin bodega 7:56 pm 01 Aug 11

What? A group of cadavers from interstate congregating in Canberra. I thought that was what the Senate was for.

Jethro 7:20 pm 01 Aug 11

Captain RAAF said :

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.

+1 (I can’t believe I +1’d Captain RAAF)

It is a shame this wasn’t done from day dot. It would be a real national treasure for generations to come.

MJay 7:02 pm 01 Aug 11

I don’t quite get the argument of families might not want their loved one buried in Canberra. If we had a national cemetery surely it would be up to the family if they want to take up the offer of their loved one being buried there? And not a requirement that they are buried there?

John Moulis 5:33 pm 01 Aug 11

Given the antipathy of other Australians towards Canberra, I hardly think the idea would get off the ground. There’d be tabloid/radio outrage about “spending all that money on a monument in Canberra while hospital waiting lists are increasing / the roads are so bad”, insert the whinge du jour here.

Given the parochialism expressed by home townspeople after the recent deaths in Afghanistan, I hardly think they would appreciate the coffin being whisked away to Canberra for burial at the end of the funeral.

There is also the thorny question of how past prime ministers, governors general, etc will be represented at the National Cemetery. Will there be mass exhumations? How will the relatives and descendents feel about this?

It is a good idea but many years too late. It should have been put in place when Canberra was first established. Unfortunately it seems the horse has well and truly bolted on this one.

nobody 5:18 pm 01 Aug 11

There may be a health requirement that cemeteries are not located too close to a lake used by many people for swimming, sailing, or boating.

Arlington may work in it’s place and in it’s culture, but there are 300,000 graves there. I’m not sure it would work here with just a few graves.

YetAnotherBlowIn 5:10 pm 01 Aug 11

Doesn’t Canberra endure enough comparisons to being a dead city without literally giving itself a dead center?

Disinformation 4:59 pm 01 Aug 11

I really think that the War Memorial serves this purpose well and far better than just a cemetery ever could. I too have been to Arlington and it pales against the WM’s facilities for empathic potential.

I’m also quite against burying any politicians in a commemorative cemetery, unless of course, they’re not dead yet. Even more fitting would be a life sized statue somewhere prominent. It would give the pigeons a chance to speak for us all.

Snarky 4:28 pm 01 Aug 11

Captain RAAF said :

Snarky said :

Captain RAAF said :

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.

… so, what’s the function of the War Memorial if not exactly that?

Well with that logic, why does anyone go to Gallipoli or Villers Bretoneaux???

If you have to ask, then you don’t understand and should not contribute to the discussion.

why does anyone go to Gallipoli? Well, I’m speaking only for myself here, but I went because it was a historic site (and not just for WW1). The atmosphere, landscape, remains and memorials, as well as abundant documentation about the War, allow anyone with the mind to to begin to touch on what happened, and why it might be pertinent to learn from this and similar events that have rhymed through human history. What I didn’t go to see was an acreage of tombstones ripped out of context with a “Here be Heroes” sign stuck on it. A cemetery is corpses! The fallible, imperfect and ultimately irrelevant flesh shell that carried a brave, committed man or woman around. Give me a remembrance of actions, intelligence and courage over a display case of lifeless body parts any day!

If you have to ask, then you don’t understand and should not contribute to the discussion. [shrug] Check the poll at the top and the comments that follow. I’d say most of us have a pretty good grasp on the issues, and our own opinions about them. Whether you in particular agree with me or not I don’t really care.

Captain RAAF 4:01 pm 01 Aug 11

Snarky said :

Captain RAAF said :

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.

… so, what’s the function of the War Memorial if not exactly that?

Well with that logic, why does anyone go to Gallipoli or Villers Bretoneaux???

If you have to ask, then you don’t understand and should not contribute to the discussion.

Snarky 3:33 pm 01 Aug 11

Captain RAAF said :

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.

… so, what’s the function of the War Memorial if not exactly that?

la mente torbida 3:03 pm 01 Aug 11

@Captain RAAF
I tend to ignore you, but you make it really hard, you TROLL

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