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Anzac Memorial Centenary Extension commemorates NSW military legacy for the Centenary of Armistice

Prince Harry officially reopens Sydney's Anzac Memorial

Published date: Monday, 22 October 2018

The reopening of Sydney's Anzac Memorial by His Royal Highness Prince Harry the Duke of Sussex celebrates the completion of the Memorial's Centenary Extension honouring New South Wales' military legacy.

The $40 million enhancement is the centrepiece of the State's Centenary of Anzac commemorations, marking the 100th anniversary of the ending of the First World War.

Prince Harry officially opened the Centenary Extension on Saturday, 20th October 2018, 84 years after the original Memorial was opened by his great-granduncle the Duke of Gloucester in 1934.

This remarkable milestone realises architect Bruce Dellit's original concept for the Memorial, one of Australia's finest and most distinctive Art Deco structures, which has quietly graced Sydney's Hyde Park for over eight decades with great dignity and simplicity.

Dellit had originally envisioned two water features running on a north-south axis to the Memorial, but due to the impact of the Great Depression only the Pool of Reflection north of the Memorial was ever built.

Now a contemporary interpretation of the water cascade on the southern side of the Memorial, a symbol of hope for future generations, completes the original 1930s concept design. A walkway through the Cascade allows Memorial visitors to enter the new Hall of Service, exhibition galleries and education facilities, providing a contemporary understanding of the history and impact of conflict.

The Hall of Service includes a major artwork by Fiona Hall featuring 1,701 soil samples from each NSW town, suburb and district given as the home address by First World War enlistees. Memorial visitors are able to view the collection of soils in all their different textures and array of colours alongside each listed location. This ground-breaking project was enthusiastically supported by hundreds of volunteers across NSW.

The Oculus, which is centred above the Hall of Service with a view out to the Memorial exterior, is an architectural reference to the Well of Contemplation in the existing Hall of Memory and visually connects the two.

Beneath the Oculus lies soil collected (where possible) from 100 battle sites of significance to NSW military history set into a ring in the floor. From 19th Century battles through to modern-day Australian peacekeeping missions the 100 sites honour more than a century of service.

As the State's principal Memorial, the Centenary Extension enhances the Memorial's founding role to support and provide services for veterans and their families who have suffered loss while ensuring a public and a private place of contemplation, remembrance, education and reflection. As a Sydney landmark, the Anzac Memorial attracts nearly 200,000 visitors annually.

Its opening, while concluding the NSW Centenary of Anzac Commemorative Program, brings the hope that we now better understand the need for open-minded contemplation, and more fully appreciate the impact of the First World War on all societies.

Architectural firm Johnson Pilton Walker designed the Centenary Extension in collaboration with the NSW Government Architect. The collaborative endeavour was made possible through generous support from the NSW and Commonwealth Governments who each contributed 50 per cent to the capital works, and a $3.4 million contribution to the Pool of Reflection by the City of Sydney; as well as strong involvement from local government, community groups and the general public.

The official reopening of the Memorial coincides with the Invictus Games, an initiative of Prince Harry, being held in Sydney from 20-27 October 2018. An international, multi-sports competition for current and former military personnel, who have been wounded, injured or become ill in service, the Invictus Games highlights the significant role sport has played in the rehabilitation of veterans.

The Anzac Memorial will be the location for the State's Remembrance Day Service on November 11 hosted by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Historically the service is held at the Cenotaph in Martin Place, however to mark the Centenary of Armistice and the completion of the Anzac Memorial Centenary Project, the 2018 Remembrance Day Service will be held at the Memorial in Hyde Park followed by an open day.

For more information please see the Anzac Memorial's web site.

Above: His Royal Highness Prince Harry the Duke of Sussex unveils the plauque commemorating completion of the Anzac Memorial's Centenary Extension. 

Above: Prince Harry greets the Office for Veterans Affairs Director, Caroline Mackaness, and the Anzac Memorial Senior Historian and Curator Brad Manera.

Above: The Secretary of the Department of Justice, Andrew Cappie-Wood, and the Office for Veterans Affairs Director, Caroline Mackaness, at the ceremony.