National Heritage List inscription date 25 April 2006
Located at the heart of the nation’s capital, the Australian War Memorial and Anzac Parade are at the centre of the nation's tribute to the courage and sacrifice of generations of men and woman who served in war.
Together they are inspiring and moving national landmarks that allow for both public and personal reflection on the Australian experience of war.
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A place to reflect and remember
The loss of life in the First World War was catastrophic. From a population of fewer than five million 60,000 Australians were killed, and 156,000 were wounded, gassed, or taken prisoner. The unimaginable scale of loss led to the creation of memorials across the country as a new way to express a national grief. Charles Bean, Australia’s war correspondant envisaged a national war memorial, to commemorate the Australian soldiers and their sacrifice. His idea was to create a national memorial where families and friends could grieve for those buried in places far away, as well as being a place that would contribute to an understanding of war itself.
Bean's proposal was approved in 1917, and the foundation stone was laid on Anzac Day 1919. The Depression and the Second World War delayed building works, but the Australian War Memorial was opened on the 11 November 1941, the 23rd anniversary of the end of WWI.
Situated at the northern end of the land axis of Griffin's plan for Canberra, the Australian War Memorial is an important part of the Parliamentary Vista. The main building is stone faced, designed in the art deco style with Byzantine and Egyptian influences. It has a cruciform plan with two floors of galleries, a library, war records storage, office space and workshop facilities.
The Australian War Memorial houses a collection of relics, personal and public records, art, and media, which tells the story of a nation's experience in world wars, regional conflicts and international peacekeeping. The collection contains unique objects including the largest collection of Victoria Crosses in the world, a Lancaster bomber, and outstanding dioramas dating from the 1920s.
Each year tens of thousands of people gather outside the war memorial and along Anzac Parade for the national ANZAC and Remembrance Day services to reflect and commemorate the Gallipoli Landing and the end of the First World War.
Anzac Parade is one of the major cultural landscapes of Australia. The broad ceremonial avenue is named in honour of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and was built to mark the 50th anniversary of the Anzac landing in Gallipoli. A direct line of sight stretches along Anzac Parade from both Parliament Houses to the foot of the Australian War Memorial.
On each side of Anzac Parade are memorials commemorating specific military campaigns or services. Viewed from Mount Ainslie, Anzac Parade is a distinguishable landmark. The red gravel and the mixed plantings of Australian blue gums and New Zealand Hebe species provide a landscape setting that demonstrates the bond between Australia and New Zealand forged in war.
National Heritage listing for the Australian War Memorial and the Memorial Parade ensures the spirit of these of places, their embodiment of the Australian experience of war and their iconic role as national places of commemoration are nationally recognized and protected under national environment law.