The Sir John Monash Centre will officially open on 24 April 2018, honouring more than 295,000 Australians who served on the Western Front during the First World War.
The project brings to fruition a plan by the Australian Government to establish an enduring international legacy from the Anzac Centenary 2014-2018.
Guests will include descendants of Sir John Monash (Australia’s commander on the Western Front) and relatives of Western Front soldiers.
The ceremony will combine French and Australian tributes, with renowned didgeridoo player Dr David Hudson, the Australian Army Band and a combined children’s choir from Picardie.
Visitors to the Centre will instantly notice they are not in a traditional museum but a next-generation immersive experience that employs 480 display screens and a mobile app to share the experiences of ordinary Australians who fought on the Western Front.
The Centre also examines Australia before the war, the reasons why Australia joined the Allied effort, and the after-effects of the global conflict, contributing to the nation we know today.
There is already strong public interest in the Centre, with more than 7,300 bookings received for the first two weeks of operation.
The day after the official opening, the Australian National Memorial will host the Dawn Service for Anzac Day 2018, commemorating the centenary of the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux and the 103rd anniversary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli. Other services in French and English will also be held throughout the area.
Entry to the Sir John Monash Centre is free of charge. Bookings are required for groups of 12 or more and they are highly encouraged during busy commemorative periods including Anzac Day, the Battle of Hamel and Armistice Day. Attendance passes for the Dawn Service do not provide entry into the Centre.