Today we marked Remembrance Day by pausing to remember those who have died or suffered in all wars and peacekeeping operations.
It was also a timely opportunity to look back at a project close to our hearts - the award-winning Galleries of Remembrance at the Shrine of Remembrance. Re-opened to the public on Remembrance Day in 2014, this refurbishment expanded the Shrine beyond a monument to a modern exhibition and education facility.
The project is of special significance for everyone who had the once-in-a-lifetime chance to work on one of our city’s most recognisable landmarks.
“It gave me an opportunity to honour both my grandfathers who served in World War II - a similar motivation to many others on the project. Even people that didn't have a personal connection understood the significance of the work we were undertaking at the Shrine and were determined to give their best,” said Senior Project Manager Matthew Hubbard.
Collaboration is the key to any successful project but there was something different about the way everyone worked so cohesively to ensure the refurbishment was completed to the highest possible standard.
“For me the project was about collaboration. The entire project team worked together to achieve the common goal of remembrance - to give something back to those who lost their lives as a result of war,” said Senior Project Manager Christian Spencer-White.
The Shrine was built in the 1930s by returned servicemen. For architectural and monumental impact, it is elevated above the surrounding park by massive brick columns that create a vast dirt-floor undercroft. In the 1990s, the Shrine of Remembrance Trustees chose to develop the undercroft space into a facility for staff and visitors.
The development involved two stages, completed in 2003 and 2014 respectively. The works included a Visitors’ Centre, Education Centre, Galleries of Remembrance and offices - all concealed in the undercroft. Four courtyards in the surrounding hill lead into the new spaces.
The refurbishment was deeply respectful of the Shrine’s heritage and cultural importance. Hidden beneath the original Shrine, its footprint or silhouette was not altered. Even the loading dock is invisible when closed.
Although the Shrine is closed due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, it’s usually one of Melbourne’s most loved and visited landmarks offering guided tours, exhibitions and onsite school programs. For tourists and Victorians alike, the Shrine is filled with stories from pre-federation times to contemporary peacekeeping – something for everyone to learn and explore.
Find out more about the Shrine of Remembrance: https://www.shrine.org.au/