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Unknown To Man, But Revered By A Nation by David McMahon

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Unknown To Man, But Revered By A Nation by 

This amazing cupola stands over the tomb of the unknown soldier at the Australian War Memorial in Canberrra.

The three arcs directly at the bottom of the image and to each side stand over huge stained-glass windows commemorating all those involved in the war effort.

While the concept of just such a tomb had been discussed after World War I, it was not until 1993 that an unknown Australian soldier was disinterred from a French war cemetery and brought home to this country. His remains were reverently placed in a coffin of Tasmanian blackwood and after lying in state in Old Parliament State, he was re-buried at the War Memorial’s Hall of Memory on 11 November 1993, exactly 75 years to the day after the Great War ended.

When soil from the original Pozieres battlefield was scattered over his tomb, the unknown soldier was welcomed back not with a long-winded speech, but four heartfelt words: ``Now you’re home, mate’’.

I do not crop, enhance or post-edit my images in any way. Shot with a Pentax K100D, using a Sigma 18-125mm lens. F3.5, 1/10 sec, ISO 800, focal length 18mm.

Featured in RAINBOW – ORANGE, February 2011.


Walkley Award-nominated journalist, novelist and wedding photographer at

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  • snapitnc
    snapitncalmost 4 years ago

    cracking shot david..

  • Many thanks, it was a really difficult angle to get. I literally had to wedge myself against the opposite wall and crouch right down …..

    – David McMahon

  • Audrey Clarke
    Audrey Clarkealmost 4 years ago

  • Many thanks for the personalised acknowledgement, Audrey.

    – David McMahon

  • David Davies
    David Daviesalmost 4 years ago

    Lovely, David!

  • Thanks, David. It was a difficult shot to take, because I had to get the angle just right – and the light inside the tomb is VERY tricky.

    – David McMahon

  • dedmanshootn
    dedmanshootnalmost 4 years ago

    fine shot and info

  • Thanks, Dave. It is a place where everyone speaks in hushed tones.

    – David McMahon

  • dedmanshootn
    dedmanshootnalmost 4 years ago

    it’s important to have places that make one understand duty, honor and reverence; and make sure to take the kids to them

  • Could not agree more. On the day we visited, there were at least two groups of school children among the steady stream of visitors.

    – David McMahon

  • fairielights
    fairielightsalmost 4 years ago

    Great capture! =)

  • Great to know this caught your eye – it was a difficult angle to achieve.

    – David McMahon

  • Shulie1
    Shulie1almost 4 years ago

    Amazing shot, David

  • Very kind of you, Shulie. It is a place that inspires great reverence.

    – David McMahon

  • ctheworld
    ctheworldalmost 4 years ago

    Thank you for submitting such wonderful work!

  • Many thanks, CTheWorld. The credit must go to the architect – I merely translated their vision into a photographic image.

    – David McMahon

  • Janie. D
    Janie. Dalmost 4 years ago

    Orange Is as Orange Does Challenge (February 2011)

  • Many thanks, Janie. Appreciate it.

    – David McMahon

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