Prime Minister announces Memorial Development Project plans

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The Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Scott Morrison MP, announced the official plans for the nine-year Australian War Memorial Development Project at an event on Monday.

The project includes a new southern underground entrance, refurbishment of the main building, a new larger Anzac Hall connected to the main building via a glazed link, an extension to the Bean Building, and public realm works. Sensitively connected to the existing landscape, the detailed plans will ensure the heritage façade remains unchanged.

Director of the Memorial Dr Brendan Nelson, who will soon complete his tenure, said it was critical the Memorial has the space to tell the stories of Australia’s servicemen and servicewomen over the past 30 years. 

“When I started at the Memorial in December 2012, we had no money, and no space, but we opened our modest but powerful Afghanistan exhibition eight months later. On the night of the opening I was standing in front of the cowling from a US Black Hawk helicopter, which crashed in Kandahar June 2010,” he said.  

“Mrs Pam Palmer was standing with me. Her son, Scott Palmer was one of three Australian  commandos killed. That cowling was used as a stretcher to bring out her son. She buried her face in my shoulder and wept uncontrollably, and said, ‘Thank you for making my son’s life mean something, and his memory live.’

“That is the power of this place and why what we are about to do is so important. Our responsibility to tell their stories, tell them now and proudly, is no less than the decisions to send them on operations in the first place,” Dr Nelson said.

Chairman of the Memorial Council, Mr Kerry Stokes AC, said the spaces to be built are truly world class.

“The young veterans, their wars and peacekeeping service and family sacrifices demand no less.”  

The Prime Minister made the announcement at the Memorial’s on-site information gallery where the detailed plans can be viewed, and where people can learn more about the Memorial’s continuing story. The information gallery is located outside Poppy’s Café, and is open daily from 8.15 am–4.30 pm. 

The Memorial has submitted a referral under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999, including a Heritage Impact Assessment, to determine if the plans require formal assessment and approval.

The submission will soon be published on the Department of Environment and Energy website for public consultation.

During the consultation phases, the Memorial invites members of the public to provide feedback to the Department of Environment and Energy website.

Preparations for early works construction to extend the underground car parking facilities on the eastern side of the precinct have begun. It is expected work on the new Anzac Hall will begin in the second half of 2020, with work on the southern entrance commencing the following year.

Work on the project begun in 2018, and it is anticipated it will be complete by 2027.

More information about the Development Project plans, including digital downloads of the final renders and fly-throughs, is available on the Memorial’s website.

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