Private Robert Poate. Photo: Supplied
FALLEN Canberran Private Robert Poate will be the first soldier on the Australian War Memorial's Roll of Honour to be featured in a new closing ceremony beginning on Wednesday.
As one of several major changes since his appointment as director last year, Brendan Nelson will this week announce an overhaul of the War Memorial's closing ceremony. Under the changes, the closing ceremony will be renamed ''the Last Post'', and will be greatly expanded from the simple routine that currently exists.
''Every day at 4.50pm, the national anthem will be sung, the Last Post will be played, and the ode will be recited, following a short account of the life and circumstances of one of the names from the Roll of Honour,'' a memorial spokesman said.
The spokesman confirmed that the story of Private Poate from the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, would be read on Wednesday at the official launch of the Last Post ceremony.
Private Poate was one of three Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan last August in a so-called green-on-blue attack carried out by a rogue Afghan National Army soldier.
Before joining the army Robert Poate spent 15 years at Canberra Grammar School, where he is remembered as an intelligent and charismatic student, as well as an outstanding athlete.
The changes to the closing ceremony follow Dr Nelson's moves to bring the War Memorial into the modern era by overhauling several of its existing events.
In a significant makeover, this year's dawn service will also be displayed on big screens, and will feature the projected names and images of famous battles on the front of the Canberra monument, as well as Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith recounting events from Afghanistan.
The solemn event has attracted record crowds in recent years and is expected to draw big numbers again after last week's memorial open day attracted a record crowd of about 20,000 visitors.