Under the bluest winter sky, the Australian War Memorial re-opened to the public after 99 days of closure enforced by the coronavirus pandemic.
One of the most important institutions in the nation's capital signified a step towards normality with a fanfare from the Royal Military College band at Duntroon.
The musicians stood and marched on the parade ground in front of the iconic building itself, with the spectacular backdrop of Anzac Parade, Lake Burley Griffin and the two parliament houses behind them.
"Today is just a wonderful moment both for the veteran community but importantly for all Australians for whom the Australian War Memorial has a central place in the nation's commemoration," the Memorial's new director, Matt Anderson, said.
"People have been denied the opportunity to come to the Australian War Memorial personally and physically and commemorate and learn and, for some of them, to heal.
"It's one further step of normalisation.
"To hold the Last Post ceremony again this evening is just a further step of the nation's slow step towards normalcy and we're very, very proud to be a part of it."
The first visitors were allowed in at 10 am after a briefing about social distancing. Inside, hand-sanitisers were placed at frequent intervals.
Among the first were Lynne and John Poleson from Sydney. "It's a wonderful reminder of where we've been and what we've got to avoid in the future," Mr Poleson said.
The Last Post Ceremony on the first day of re-opening was a commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the amphibious landings of the Australian 7th Division at Balikpapan during the Second World War.
The ceremony honoured Private Leslie James Hanlon of the 2/27th Australian Infantry Battalion who was killed during what was known as Operation Oboe Two.
"The Last Post Ceremony is an important part of the memorial visitor experience and a powerful and memorable way to conclude a visit," the new director said.
"It draws us closer to the lives and the loss of but one of the 102,800 names recorded on the Roll of Honour. It is a chance to take stock in our busy lives, and to wrap ourselves in a unifying cloak of remembrance."
Visitors will have to book online. The former way of just turning up and being allowed into a crowded area has been ruled out in the new regime of keeping distance.
There are now three online options for visitors. Tickets are free and you could book for all three one after the other, on the same day.
The options are:
- A two hour ticket to visit galleries and commemorative areas. This gives access to the First World War and Second World War galleries plus post-1945 conflicts.
- The Anzac Hall. The one-hour ticket allows you to see the Japanese midget submarine among other things.
- A one hour ticket to attend the Last Post ceremony.
Mr Anderson said: "Visitors will notice that we have made a few changes to our operations, but it is important that we all continue to play our part as we move through the stages of easing restrictions."