ACT News

AWM reviewing security after shooting in Canada

The Australian War Memorial is reviewing security following the terrorist shooting of a soldier guarding a war memorial in Canada.

The memorial may upgrade security before Remembrance Day, a significant event on the calender of the Canberra cultural institution.

The Last Post Ceremony concludes at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
The Last Post Ceremony concludes at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.  Photo: Melissa Adams

This year November 11 marks the 96th anniversary of the Armistice which ended the First World War.

The Remembrance Day ceremony includes the traditional one minute's silence at 11am and a formal wreath laying.

Memorial director Brendan Nelson is discussing security issues with ASIO and the Australian Federal Police, although the memorial recently upgraded security following the recent increase in the national terrorism alert.

"In the context of the tragic events in Ottawa this morning, we are in discussion with the relevant security agencies with a view to examining what, if any, further changes to the security at the Australian War Memorial we may need to make," he said on Thursday.

Dr Nelson did not give specific details about security arrangements, nor if any guards were armed.

The memorial's security personnel were trained to recognise potential risks and were backed up by an electronic security system.

Dr Nelson said no specific threat had been made against the memorial.

"If there is any adjustment that is recommended by the relevant security agencies to the memorial's security arrangements, those changes will be made immediately," he said.

'It's important that we do everything we possibly to see that Australians and our international visitors feel comfortable and welcomed in coming to this the Australian War Memorial and its iconic place in Australian life."

A statement issued by the memorial said it regularly reviewed security and had responded to the heightened security alert issued by the federal government after consultation with the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the Australian Federal Police.

A large crowd of schoolchildren attended Thursday's Last Post ceremony which highlighted the sacrifice of Major Cyril Robert Seelenmeyer from the Australian Army Veterinary Corps.

The dignified ceremony proceeded against a background of thunder from nearby storms.

Major Seelenmeyer from Brighton died of wounds on August 8, 1918, in France and is buried at Fouilloy Communal Cemetery at Picardie in France.

Memorial visitors were told he attended Melbourne University and worked in Queensland before enlisting.

On August 8, he was treating a horse when a shell fell nearby. He was taken to hospital with a badly damaged leg but died shortly afterwards.

Correction: An earlier version of this article wrongly said Major Seelenmeyer died in 1919. He died in 1918.

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