09 January 2011

Melbourne - Shrine of Remembrance

The Shrine of Remembrance is located on Melbourne’s most recognised boulevard, in Kings Domain on St Kilda Road, Melbourne. The walk towards the Shrine gives the feeling of space and on a cool, slightly windy, clear sunny day, it feels really peaceful.

There was a small family having a picnic with the works; rugs with picnic baskets by the grass, soaking up the sun and the children playing around their parent and granddad. I think they have the right idea for the day.

The Shrine was built as a memorial to the men and women of Victoria who served in World War I and is now a memorial to all Australians who have served in any war, that Australia was involved in. It is a site for the annual observances of the ANZAC Day (25 April) and Remembrance Day (11 November).

For its history and what the memorial is about, click here.

Work on redeveloping the Shrine begun in the year 2002. It introduced two new courtyards, a new gallery and the Visitor Centre. It opened in August 2003.

The photo shows the new Entrance Courtyard, from the left side of the Shire, with the words 'Lest We Forget' etched onto one wall. The second courtyard is the Garden Courtyard (no photos), to the right of the Shrine, features the Legacy Olive Tree and a seating area.

From the Entrance Courtyard, as you enter the passage to the Visitor Center, you'll pass the Gallery of Medals, a 40 meter wall with 4,000 service medals. Each medal represents 100 Victorians who have served in military and/or peacekeeping operations.

The Crypt, the blur photo on the bottom left, is below the Sanctuary. It contains the Sovereign and Regimental colours and a series of bronze panels recording the army and navy units that took part in World War 1 and the names of Royal Australian Navy ships lost in the war. The flags hanging in the crypt are the regimental colours.

The bronze father and son statue in the centre honours the courage and service of two succeeding generations of Victorians, service men and women who served and died in the World Wars 1914-1918 and 1939-1945.

The Sanctuary, above the Crypt have the Stone of Remembrance, a marble stone sunk below the pavement where no hands may touch it and where visitors must bow their heads to read the inscription on it:


The inscription is part of a verse from the Bible, John 15:13 "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends".

The Stone is aligned with an aperture in the roof of the Sanctuary (photo on the top right) so that a ray of sunlight falls on the word LOVE on the Stone of Remembrance at exactly 11 a.m. on 11 November, marking the hour and day of the Armistice which ended World War I.

Tipbits: Since the introduction of daylight saving in Victoria, the ray of sunlight is no longer in the right place at 11 a.m. A mirror has been installed to direct sunlight onto the Stone at 11 a.m. During the rest of the year, a light is used to simulate the effect.

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