Stephens, David: ‘Visitation’ numbers at the Australian War Memorial since 1991

Stephens, David

“Visitation” numbers at the Australian War Memorial since 1991: is this joint really jumpin’?Honest History, 2 February 2016 updated

Update 7 February 2017: One year on: analysis of visitor statistics in the Memorial’s Annual Report for 2015-16. (The article below looks at the Annual Report for 2014-15.)

In this article we analyse 25 years of War Memorial visitor statistics and seven years of statistics for the Memorial’s website. We start by noting the high visitor numbers at the Memorial in 2014-15. We compare these figures with domestic tourism into Canberra and then with Australia’s population over this period, to give us a figure for visitors to the War Memorial as a proportion of Australia’s population.

We then turn to statistics for the Memorial’s website. We look at visits, visitors, unique visitors, page views, bots, bounce rates, views per day and visits duration and views per day.

We conclude that the Memorial’s visitor numbers – real people walking through the door – have remained remarkably stable over a quarter of a century at around four per cent of Australia’s population. We then characterise the Memorial’s statistics about the virtual visitors to its website as a mixture of confusion and spin, even obfuscation.

Beneath the copious statistics in the article are two propositions: first, that the Memorial’s actual visitor numbers since 1990 should lead us to question whether the Anzac legend’s hold over Australians is as strong as many of us thought; secondly, that the loose way the Memorial presents its website visitor statistics provides evidence of the need for national standards for website metrics.

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