Big Things in Store   Leave a comment

Sunday, 15 September, 2013

I’ve been to the Australian War Memorial, situated at the top of ANZAC parade, a few times in the past and there is always a large range of artefacts on display within the many exhibitions they have running in the main buildings. During a recent Open Day, I was impressed by the number of large vehicles that they were able to bring in and show off in the grounds of the War Memorial and at the time, wondered where they stored all these vehicles and anything else that was not on display at the time.

Today, I got to see where all that stuff is stored. The ‘Big Things in Store’ open day at their large depot up in the suburb of Mitchell in North Canberra is designed to give the general public a glimpse of the many items of military hardware that cannot be displayed at the Memorial itself. A similar event was held last year and by all accounts it was very popular and so I rose early this morning and travelled up to join the queues at 9:30. As soon as the gates opened and I entered the compound I was confronted by a ‘Bushmaster’ infantry mobility vehicle! this is a large armoured personnel carrier used in Iraq and Afghanistan by the Australian military. On show today they have a fully operational model as well as a vehicle what had been blown up in theatre and it was sobering to think that anyone could survive inside one what had been blown up, as the damage was extensive.

I then went inside one of the two large sheds open to the public to take a look at what was been stored. It was a little too dark inside to take any decent pictures of the vast array of military equipment on show. However, one item of equipment that catch my eye was a Centurion Mach 5 tank in Australian army colours which was built by the Royal Ordnance Factory in Leeds. The ROF in Patricroft (Manchester) is where I worked for many years after leaving school many moons ago. By the time I came out of the first shed, the queues outside the second one where enormous, so I decided grab a coffee and watch one of the military displays on offer. This one involved the Australian Defence Force drill team, who gave an excellent demonstration of close marching and rifle handling in formation.

The huge queue for the second shed was showing no sign of getting any smaller so I have no other option than to join it and after a forty-five minute wait, I entered the massive shed to be greeted by several large military transporters as well as a large selection of Australian, American and other nations helicopters. Around the back of these was a large selection of artillery both new and old, some dating back to the 1800’s. Then right at the end of the tour was the old World War I tank that I had seen before when I went to the Australian War Memorial Open Day way back in April.

There are still plenty of people milling around outside when I emerged from the shed and as I had seen everything I wanted to see, I decided to leave.

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Posted September 15, 2013 by yermandownunder in Canberra Events, Observations, Out and about

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yermandownunder

A Blog about Mario's life down under!

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