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of the vital help given by the
United States of America during
the war in the Pacific 1941-1945.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
February 16, 1954
Design and construction
After an appeal for finances by then Prime Minister of Australia, Sir Robert Menzies, the Australian people subscribed more than the eventual cost of £100,000, then a vast sum of money for such a public memorial, indicating the gratitude of the nation. Additional memorials were constructed in Brisbane and Adelaide that used the surplus funds.
Sydney architect Richard M. Ure won the design following a nationwide competition. Work commenced in December 1952 and took just over a year. Then Vice President, Richard Nixon, visited the site in the early stages of construction.
The memorial is a hollow, octagonal, tapered column with a steel framework sheeted with aluminium panels that were sandblasted to give the appearance of stone. Two murals feature at the base, one relating the story of American combat in the Pacific and the other a profile map of the United States in copper. The column is surrounded by a water-filled moat about 3m wide. Under the dedication is a bronze wreath, carved by Walter Langcake, where floral wreaths are often laid on official commemorations. The column is topped with a bronze sphere surmounted by a stylised figure of the American eagle by the distinguished sculptor, Paul Beadle.
The height is 258 ft: he eagle and sphere are together around 11 m high.
The memorial was built at Russell Hill on the extended line of Kings Avenue, near one of the three nodes of the Parliamentary Triangle.
Russell Offices has since been developed around the memorial, as the headquarters of the Australian Defence Force and the Department of Defence, with the immediate surrounds called Blamey Square after Field Marshal Sir Thomas Blamey.
From the base of the memorial looking west along Kings Avenue towards the New Parliament House.
- Department of Defence web site for the memorial, with construction pictures
- US Embassy web site for the memorial