ANZAC Memorial, Hyde Park

Description

 

The Memorial was erected to perpetuate the memory of the men and women from New South Wales who served in the Great War of 1914 - 1918.

In 1984, following a proposal by the Trustees, the Anzac Memorial Act was amended to enable the Memorial to be rededicated as a memorial to all Australians who serve their country in war.

 

On the 30th November, 1984 the year of the Memorial’s fiftieth anniversary, the Governor of New South Wales, His Excellency Sir James Anthony Rowland, K.B.E., D.F.C., A.F.C., K.St.J. rededicated the Anzac Memorial and unveiled a plaque. This occasion also marked the opening of an on-going photographic exhibition — ”Australians at War” — in the former offices within southern podium of the building.

 

The Memorial is opened Monday to Sunday from 9am to 5.00pm (excluding Good Friday and Christmas Day).

A recent addition to the Memorial is a museum that can be accessed from the Western door. In the museum you can see displays of uniforms from all theatres of conflict, videos, paintings, trench art, models, and correspondence from those who served.

 

Situated towards the southern end of Hyde Park and centred upon the main avenue, the Memorial is one hundred feet high, its base measures one hundred and fifty feet by ninety feet, and on its main approach is the 'Lake of Reflections', bordered by poplar trees in memory of the battle of France.

Construction is of reinforced concrete, the exterior being finished with New South Wales red granite, the interior with New South Wales white marble and comprises a circular 'Hall of Silence', above which towers a great 'Hall of Memory', domed with stairs, from the terrace level, of which one gazes with bowed head upon the central motif of the memorial design, a bronze group of sculpture, symbolising Sacrifice.

 

Further detailed information can be found on the RSL NSW website  rslnsw.com.au, and the memorial website anzacmemorial.nsw.gov.au

Special thanks to RSL NSW and the ANZAC Memorial Hyde Park Trustees for providing this information and images.


Features

 

The Dome of Stars

High above the 'Sacrifice' is the great 'Dome of Stars'. On this dome there has been placed one star for every man or woman from New South Wales who served in the Great War. In all, there are 120,000 stars, a constellation of memories that tells in simple fashion the collective effort of the men and women of New South Wales in 1914 to 1918.

 

Dedication Plaques

On the 19th July, 1932, the foundations were laid, the first by the Governor as a representative Returned Soldier, and the second by the Premier, the Hon B.S.B. Stevens, as representative of the citizens of New South Wales. His Royal Highness, the Duke of Gloucester, opened and dedicated the Memorial on 24th November, 1934, at a ceremony witnessed by approximately 100,000 people.

Today, the Memorial is complete to stand through the ages as a tribute to the memory of those who made the last great sacrifice that truth and liberty should not perish from the Earth.

In 1984, following a proposal by the Trustees, the Anzac Memorial Act was amended to enable the Memorial to be rededicated as a memorial to all Australians who serve their country in war.
On the 30th November, 1984 the year of the Memorial’s fiftieth anniversary, the Governor of New South Wales, His Excellency Sir James Anthony Rowland, K.B.E., D.F.C., A.F.C., K.St.J. rededicated the Anzac Memorial and unveiled a plaque. This occasion also marked the opening of an on-going photographic exhibition - 'Australians at War' - in the former offices within southern podium of the building.

 

The Lake of Reflections

Situated towards the southern end of Hyde Park and centred upon the main avenue, the Memorial is one hundred feet high, its base measures one hundred and fifty feet by ninety feet, and on its main approach is the "Lake of Reflections", bordered by poplar trees in memory of the battle of France.

Construction is of reinforced concrete, the exterior being finished with New South Wales red granite, the interior with New South Wales white marble and comprises a circular "Hall of Silence", above which towers a great "Hall of Memory", domed with stairs, from the terrace level, of which one gazes with bowed head upon the central motif of the memorial design, a bronze group of sculpture, symbolising Sacrifice.

Four Portals give access to the Memorial, each facing one of the cardinal points.

The Portals facing East and West give access to the lower floor and lead to the Hall of Silence.

The North and South facing Portals give access to the great Hall of Memory on the upper floor.

The North Portal overlooks the 'Lake of Reflections'. On entering the Memorial one walks from the cold grey light of nature into an atmosphere of mellow amber lighting derived from the four great windows in the 'Hall of Memory' which are glazed with amber glass, on which rising phoenix-like from the ‘Flames of Sacrifice’. This symbol faces north, south, east and west, and growing forth there from is the winged torch of Liberty, a symbol of that ideal which has proved the saving feature of 1914/18.

 

The Sacrifice

This is the central motif of the Memorial design. It comprises a bronze group of sculpture depicting the recumbent figure of a young warrior who has made the supreme sacrifice, his naked body lies upon a shield which is supported by three womenfolk; his best loved, Mother, Wife and Sister, and in the arms of one is a child, the future generations for whom the sacrifice has been made.

It illustrates the sacrifice engendered by war, self sacrifice for duty and the beautiful quality of womanhood who in the war years, with quiet courage and noble resignation, bore her burdens, the loss of sons, husbands and lovers.

The group rises pyre-like from symbolical flames of sacrifice, which radiate from its base.

Placed centrally in the 'Hall of Silence', it is below the eye level of visitors to the 'Hall of Memory', so that all who gaze down upon the group from this place of Memories must bow their heads in acknowledgment of those whom it symbolises - the heroes and heroines of New South Wales, in 1914 to 1918.

 

The Wreath Balustrade

In the 'Hall of Memory' is the 'Well of Contemplation' through which all who enter gaze upon the 'Sacrifice'.

Around this Well is a Balustrade of polished New South Wales marble designed in a wreath like form in sympathy with the 'Spirit of the Sacrifice' which it encircles.

 

The Hall of Memory

In the 'Hall of Memory' are four Niches on the walls on which are inscribed the names of each of the major battles in which the A.I.F. participated.

The France and Belgium Niche
On the floor of this Niche is a stone taken from France around which, in the marble paving is a representation of the ‘Rising Sun’ - the insignia of the A.I.F.

The Egypt and Palestine Niche
This contains the names of the principle areas of battle of the Palestine and Mesopotamia campaigns and, let into the floor, is a stone taken from Palestine around which the ‘Rising Sun’ circles to tell of the connection between these countries and the sons of Australia in their great adventure.

The New Guinea and the High Sea Niche
On the walls of the Niche are carved the names of the principle places in New Guinea and Episodes at Sea, where or in which, Australians participated. On the floor of this Niche is a stone taken from New Guinea and radiating from it in the paving is again the ‘Rising Sun’.

The Gallipoli Niche
Tells of the places sacred to Australian memory; places where the men of the A.I.F. engraved the name of their country on the pages of History. Here are to be read, the names of the great battles in which the A.I.F. participated in this theatre of war, and here on the floor of this Niche is also a stone, which was taken from the shores of Gallipoli, and around it halo-like, is the ‘Rising Sun’.

 

The Archives Doorway

On the other side of this doorway growing imperceptibly from the marble walling are urns carved in marble and bearing graven flames of sacrifice.

On the door leading to the Archives Room is a symbolic representation of the Red Cross. Surrounding this doorway, carved from the solid marble, is an abstract symbolism representing the ‘Flaming Sword of War’, pointing to the war years, 1914 to 1918, and carried on the wings of time, and arising - like the source of its inspiration - is the ‘Rising Sun’ of the A.I.F. - rising and ever to arise fresh in the minds of Australian generations, the symbol of a young country grown nationhood.

 

The Bas-Reliefs

The Navy Bas-Relief
High on the walls of the ‘Hall of Memory’ are bas-reliefs depicting the four great branches of the A.I.F., and behind the central groups in each case are marching figures - the ‘March of the Dead’ - those who are called forth from life on service, and at their feet and flanking the central features in these panels are groups of crosses - quiet symbols of quiet sentinels in far-off lands. The Navy bas-relief depicts a Naval Officer and men resting, war weary and worn after their efforts, and dwelling on the memory of their companions for whom the passing shadow figures and attendant crosses speak in silent witness.

The Air Force Bas-Relief
Depicts an Air Force officer and men resting after their war efforts and contemplating in like manner the memories of those years, their departed comrades and their resting places being symbolised by marching figures and the ever present crosses.

The Army Medical Corps Bas-Relief
Here is depicted one of the noblest phases of the war-weary and wounded men tended with loving care by the mothers of the race - here is to be seen a Matron and two of her charges sitting in contemplation and weariness, and behind are to be seen again the ‘March of the Dead’ and eternal crosses which speak of the closing gateway of life.

The Army Bas-Relief
Illustrates members of the A.I.F. Infantry resting after their war efforts, exhausted, and sitting in contemplation of lost friends who have joined the ‘March of the Dead’ and whose departure is symbolised by the crosses on either side.

 

The Campaigns

The Western Campaign
A bas-relief panel, is placed on the western façade of the Memorial immediately over the Entrances to the Offices of the Returned Soldiers Organisations and Museum. On this panel are depicted men of the Air Force, the Cycle Corps, the Infantry in full marching equipment, Wagon Drivers, Infantry in winter dress, Pioneers, Heavy Artillery, Stretcher Bearers, Bombers, Machine Gunners, Infantry in action, the Tank Corps and a Gas Attack.

The Eastern Campaign
This bronze bas-relief panel depicts the activities of the A.I.F. in the Eastern theatres of war – Egypt, Gallipoli, Palestine and Mesopotamia. Here are to be seen incidents referring to the landing at Gallipoli, Marines, the landing of supplies, the Army Medical Services, the Camel Corps, the Engineers, the Army Service Corps, the Light Horse, the Infantry carrying barbed wire entanglements, the Machine Gunners, the Artillery and the Engineers. This panel, illustrating the Eastern theatres of war, has been placed on the eastern side of the Memorial.

 

The Memorial Urns

Flanking each approach to the Memorial and at either end of the bronze panels depicting the Eastern and Western Campaigns, are Memorial Urns symbolising the resting places of the Ashes of departed War Heroes.

 

The Seated Figures

High on the walls of the Memorial, surmounting the granite buttresses are the colossal figures representing the various units of the Army, the Navy, the Air Service and the Army Medical Corps. These figures are shown resting after their war efforts - silent sentinels and guardians of the Memorial, and literal representations of those whose memory the Memorial perpetuates.

From L to R:

Naval Signaller
Aviator
Air Force Mechanic
Infantryman
Gas Rescue Man
Surgeon
Pioneer
Bomber
Driver, Field Artillery
Light Horseman
Field Telephone Mechanic
A.B. Seaman in winter kit
Nurse
Naval Wireless Signaller
Lewis Gunner
Ammunition Carrier

 

The Corner Figures

At each angle of the Memorial, above the seated figures are colossal standing figures, representing the four great branches of the A.I.F.

 

The Winged Finials

At the apex of the pilasters framing the internal bas-relief depicting the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Army Medical Corps and the ‘March of the Dead’ are great winged finials symbolising the flight of the soul after death, these winged finials lead the eye of the visitor to the ‘Stars of Memory’, which encrust the dome above.

Inscription

 

Dedication Plaques:

 

The ANZAC Memorial

A Soldier set this stone on the nineteenth July 1932

 

The ANZAC Memorial

A citizen set this stone on the nineteenth July 1932

 

Re-dedication Plaque:

 

The ANZAC Memorial

Rededicatedon the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary as

a memorial to all Australians

who serve their country in war.

In the presence ofhis excellency

air marshal Sir James Rowland, K.B.E, D.F.C, A.F.C,

Governor of New South Wales

30 November, 1984

 

Interior:

 

Let silent contemplation

be your offering

Address
Elizabeth Street, Hyde Park
Sydney NSW 2000
Location/surrounding area
Hyde Park south, towards its southern boundary. Bordered by Elizabeth, College, Park and Liverpool Streets
Recorded by
RSL NSW - rslnsw.com.au. ANZAC Memorial Hyde Park Sydney. ANZAC Memorial Trustees - Greg Read - anzacmemorial.nsw.gov.au
Established date
19/05/1932
Dedication date
1934-11-24

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