Friday 15 April 2016 by AWM Website Admin. No comments

In accordance with the Australian War Memorial’s Heritage Management Plan, and facilitated by a $1 million grant from the Department of the Environment’s Protecting National Historic Sites program for 2014–17, the Memorial’s Commemorative Area is undergoing a major refurbishment.

The principal objective of this project is to replace the Commemorative Area’s decaying sculptural figures by re-carving them in matching sandstone. Replacement of the sculptures on the western wall was completed this past April; the remaining sculptures will be replaced between January and March 2017. The reconstruction of these essential architectural elements, designed by artist Leslie Bowles in 1939–40 to adorn the classical architectural design of John Crust and Emil Sodersten, will preserve the Commemorative Area’s historic, aesthetic, and social values for generations to come.

Secondary goals for this project include repairing the Commemorative Area’s drainage systems and making water-tight all pavements and garden beds, as well as the Pool of Reflection.

All work is taking place alongside extensive consultation with building and cultural heritage specialists. Consultations have also been held with cultural stakeholders, including the Department of Defence Indigenous Liaison Officer’s network and the local community, in accordance with Burra Charter best practice management for heritage sites and the Memorial’s Heritage Management Plan.

Website visitors can watch a time-lapsed video of the re-creation of the bearded dragon sculpture below. Taking measurements from the original plaster moulds created in 1939–40, this highly trained and experienced sculptor can be seen employing ancient techniques virtually unchanged since medieval times.


The Commemorative Area Reconstruction Project is supported by funding from the Australian government’s Protecting National Historic Sites Programme.