Publication date: Thursday, 7 September 2017
The Anzac Memorial Centenary Project, a $40 million redevelopment of the Memorial in Sydney's Hyde Park, has reached its one year milestone – and the halfway mark in realising the original 1930s vision for the Memorial.
"It is exciting to see the great progress being made on this major upgrade and to watch the project take shape," Veterans Affairs Director Caroline Mackaness said.
Built by the people of NSW as a memorial to the young men and women from the state that had died in the Great War, the original building is rich in symbolic sculpture and artistry. It was also a working building, providing offices and space for use by the veteran community. The Memorial extension will interpret the sculpture, artwork and meaning embedded in the Memorial and enable the stories of NSW's involvement in all military and peace-keeping missions to be told. It will continue to honour those who have served.
The Centenary Project, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the First World War, is a joint project of the NSW Government, together with the Trustees of the Anzac Memorial Building and is supported with Commonwealth funding.
The 1930s design included two water features: a Pool of Reflection on the northern side, and a second cascading water feature that was never built due to the onset of the Great Depression.
The Centenary Project will finally complete the original architect Bruce Dellit's proposed cascade while a walkway through the cascade will take visitors down into new education and interpretation facilities and into the Hall of Service - a civic space that architecturally and artistically mirrors the Hall of Silence in the original building.
The basement slab for these new spaces is now in place and pre-cast concrete beams are to be installed over the next month for the main structure of the new building.
At the same time work is well underway on the Fiona Hall artwork, the centrepiece of the new Memorial, displaying soil samples from more than 1,600 sites across NSW where soldiers enlisted for the Great War.
To mark the Centenary, a ring set into the floor of the Hall of Service will list 100 sites of significance to NSW service spanning the state's military history. The extension will also house the Royal United Services Institute Library and an important and rare collection of historic swords, pistols and medals belonging to Australia's first general Maurice O'Connell.
The rebuild is expected to be completed as the Centenary of Anzac commemorations conclude in 2018.
"By enhancing the Anzac Memorial we are ensuring future generations can continue to honour those who fought for the freedoms we enjoy today," Caroline said.
Above: Watch a time-lapse video of the redevelopment of the Anzac Memorial in Sydney's Hyde Park