ANZAC War Memorial

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Anzac Memorial
ANZAC War Memorial.jpg
Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park, Sydney
For the AIF dead of World War I
Unveiled 24 November 1934
Location 33°52′32.6″S 151°12′39.4″E / 33.875722°S 151.210944°E / -33.875722; 151.210944Coordinates: 33°52′32.6″S 151°12′39.4″E / 33.875722°S 151.210944°E / -33.875722; 151.210944
near Sydney, Australia
Designed by Bruce Dellit

The Anzac Memorial, completed in 1934, is the principal war memorial for the state of New South Wales, Australia. The design of the Memorial was a collaboration between the architect C. Bruce Dellit and the artist Rayner Hoff.[1] The memorial is located in Hyde Park South on the eastern edge of Sydney's central business district. It is open from 9am to 5pm every day except Christmas and Good Friday. It is the site of commemoration ceremonies like Anzac Day and Remembrance Day.[2]

The Anzac Memorial was built to remember the impact of the Great War (1914–1918) on the men and women from New South Wales.[3] The war reached into almost every home in the state as over 164,000 men enlisted for the Australian Imperial Force. Thousands of others joined the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force or served in the forces of allied countries. Hundreds of women from New South Wales served in the Australian Army Nursing Service while more joined Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service, the Red Cross and kindred organisations. Three out of every five of those volunteers were killed or suffered significant wounds. Veterans would continue to die prematurely in the decades after the war.[3]

Those who died on active service were buried at the nearest military cemetery. As the dead were not going to be brought home demand for a memorial in their honour grew. Fund raising for a memorial began on 25 April 1916, the first anniversary of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landing at Anzac Cove that opened the Gallipoli campaign.[4] When the war ended in November 1918 calls for a state memorial grew. Funds were raised through the 1920s despite the post-war austerity and debate over an appropriate site. Construction began in the early 1930s and the Anzac Memorial opened on 24 November 1934. Guest of honour at the ceremony was His Royal Highness Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester.[3]

As part of the 100th Anniversary of the Great War, the Anzac Memorial is undergoing a multimillion-dollar upgrade. This will see the original 1930s vision for the Memorial by Sydney architect Bruce Dellit completed along with education and interpretation spaces that cater for any audience keen to learn about the Anzac legacy and its place in Australia’s history.[5]


The Anzac Memorial is one of the great Art Deco buildings in Australia. A design competition was commissioned in July 1929 and a month later the prize-winning entries were announced by the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Philip Game. Third prize was awarded to Peter Kaad, second prize to John D. Moore and the winner was Bruce Dellit. The successful contractors for the building works were Kell & Rigby.[6]

The building is constructed of concrete, with an exterior cladding of pink granite, and consists of a massed square superstructure with typically Art Deco setbacks and buttresses. It is punctuated on each side by a large arched window of yellow stained glass and crowned with a ziggurat-inspired stepped roof. It is positioned atop a cruciform pedestal within which administrative offices and a small museum are located.

At the heart of the Anzac Memorial is Rayner Hoff's monumental bronze sculpture entitled Sacrifice. Sacrifice is a powerful depiction of a young man lying dead on his shield and sword being born aloft by three female figures, representing his mother, sister and his wife, who is also carrying their infant child. Sacrifice stands in the centre of the Hall of Silence. It is viewed through the circular void of the Well of Contemplation from the Hall of Memory above. The walls of the Hall of Memory bear the names of locations of many of the major battles in which Australians fought during the Great War in four niches.

The Hall of Memory is largely faced in white marble, and features a domed ceiling dotted with 120,000 gold stars representing the men and women of New South Wales who volunteered during World War I. Access to this hall is provided via broad stairways on each side of the building's north-south axis, while ground-level doorways on the east and west sides offer entry to the lower section. The exterior of the building has square flat faces framing bas reliefs in bronze and granite. Breaking the flat walls and sharp corners of the exterior of the Anzac Memorial are 16 buttresses each supporting the seated figure of a sailor, soldier, airmen or nurse in a variety of the uniforms in which they served illustrating a range of military skills and experiences. Each of the corners is dominated by a standing figure. Those figures include: a naval commander; an infantry officer; an aviator and a matron.

Immediately to the north of the Anzac Memorial is a large rectangular Pool of Reflection flanked by rows of poplars. The poplars, not native to Australia, symbolise the areas of France in which Australian troops fought. The poplars, not native to Australia, symbolise the areas of France and Belgium in which Australian troops fought. Original plans incorporated two water features, the Pool of Reflection to the north and a cascade to the south. The economic collapse of the Great Depression meant that the construction of the southern cascade had to be abandoned and the Pool of Reflection was completed. In 2015 as Australia marks the 100th Anniversary of the Great War, the Anzac Memorial Centenary Project will see the original vision by Sydney architect Bruce Dellit finally completed. This project will see the new water feature, and education and interpretation facilities added beneath the Memorial by architecture practice Johnson Pilton Walker, in collaboration with the NSW Government Architect’s Office.[5]

This project is funded by a $20.3 million contribution from the NSW Government and a $19.6 million contribution from the Commonwealth’s Anzac Centenary Public Fund. The City of Sydney is also contributing a $7.5 million upgrade to the existing Pool of Reflection and associated works in Hyde Park around the Memorial Precinct.

The plans to redevelop the Anzac Memorial at Hyde Park were unveiled by NSW Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Veterans Affairs David Elliott on 19 July 2015. The project is expected to take approximately three years to complete and will be overseen by the Anzac Memorial Trustees, the NSW Government, City of Sydney, and the NSW RSL.

A ten-metre-long bronze relief, over the west door by Rayner Hoff.
The other ten-metre-long bronze relief, over the east door. These two sculptures illustrate the functions and activities of elements of the Australian Imperial Force overseas.[7]
The memorial at night


See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Plan Your Visit". Anzac Memorial. 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-29. 
  3. ^ a b c "History of the Anzac Memorial". Anzac Memorial. 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-29. 
  4. ^ "ANZAC Memorial, Sydney", ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee (Qld) Incorporated, 1998.
  5. ^ a b "Anzac Memorial Centenary Project". Anzac Memorial. 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-29. 
  6. ^ "How the memorial came into being" Returned and Services League of Australia (NSW), Retrieved 15 February 2012
  7. ^ "Anzac War Memorial Hyde Park", Art Deco Sydney, February, 2008.


  • Bayer, Patricia, Art Deco Architecture: Design, Decoration and Detail from the Twenties and Thirties, Thames & Hudson, London, 1992
  • Edwards, Deborah, This Vital Flesh: The Sculpture of Rayner Hoff and His School, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1999
  • Hedger, Michael, Public Sculpture in Australia, Craftsman House, Sydney, NSW, 1995
  • Inglis, K.S., Sacred Places: War Memorials in the Australian Landscape, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1998
  • Sturgeon, Graeme, The Development of Australian Sculpture: 1788 – 1975, Thames & Hudson, London, 1978
  • Van Daele, Patrick and Roy Lumly, A Spirit of Progress: Art Deco Architecture in Australia, Craftsman House, Sydney, NSW, 1997

External links[edit]