I’ve always wanted to visit the Shrine of Remembrance at the Botanic Gardens but have also put it off for various reasons. Earlier this year, I was adamant I that I would go to the dawn service on Anzac Day and check out the parade and nothing was going to stop me.
Well, it rained cats and dogs on the morning the service was held and my king sized bed was just too comfy and warm to get out of. I’ve inadvertently found an excuse not to stay in bed when hundreds braved the rain for the service at the shrine.
Forward a couple of months later, I was out and about in the city attending the Game Masters exhibition and had my camera with me and thought it’ll be a good chance to mosey over to the shrine since it was just a stone’s throw away from Federation Square.
It was an extremely awe inspiring experience to say the least, looking at exhibits on display seeing what the diggers have to go through during the 2 World Wars and it’s an harrowing reminder of what destruction war can bring and how resilient the human spirit is when it comes to preserving our freedom.
I was pleasantly surprised when I entered the crypt of the shrine and was greet with a huge union jack flag named the “Changi Flag”.
The flag flew over the Sultan’s palace in Johore, the southernmost state of Malaya until in 1941 it was removed by Captain Ken Parsons of the 2/3rd Motor Ambulance Convoy to prevent it falling into enemy hands. After the fall of Singapore the flag was held by the captured Australians in Changi Prison , where it was kept safe until liberation in 1945. Throughout the prisoners’ captivity, the flag was brought out on ceremonial occasions, including the burial of prisoners, then secured again. It became a symbol of the courage of the prisoners of war.
Between 1942 and 1945, over one hundred signatures were placed on the flag. Of these, 91 are Australians, including 33 Victorians, 36 New South Welshmen, 16 Queenslanders and 2 Western Australians. The remaining signatures are attributed to members of the liberating force in 1945 and foreign patients of Australian medical units.
Source: Changi Flag
Pretty cool to see a little bit of Singapore etched into Australian history for all to see at the shrine. More pictures from my trip below: