Australian High Commission and War Memorial

London is full of Aussies – they seem to staff all the bars here – but this vigorous young child of the empire also has an impressive official presence.

The Australian High Commission occupies a great site down on the Strand in the same block on Aldwych as Bush House, where the BBC World Service used to be. On the pediment is a rather puzzling statue: it may be a man celebrating the energy of a youthful nation, but you could equally see him as gesturing an aggressive “come on” at a rugby match. Or perhaps even worse – after all, he’s naked and his impressive private parts are on full view. Typical Aussie…

At Hyde Park Corner there’s a more restrained approach, with the Australian War Memorial. Apart from the Arms and the statement of commitment (and by the way, let’s say “thank you, Australia”) the big idea here is that all the little towns of Australia join together to spell out the names of the battles where they fought – so NORMANDY emerges from the way Daylesford, Stanley Hill etc are written. It’s strangely effective.