Establishment of the Australian War Memorial
As few of those grieving over the loss of their loved ones would get to Gallipoli or the Western Front, Charles Bean conceived the idea of an Australian war memorial. It was to be a place where those who were mourning could visit to commemorate the sacrifice of those who had been killed.
An architectural competition failed to produce a satisfactory individual design. Sydney architects Emil Sodersteen and John Crust were encouraged to submit a joint design, combining Sodersteen’s vision for the building and Crust’s concept of cloisters to house the Roll of Honour. This was accepted in 1927.
The Memorial’s foundation stone was laid on 25 April 1929, but work was curtailed by the onset of the Great Depression. Work on the main structure began in 1936 and was finally completed in 1941 – by which time the nation was embroiled in another war. The Memorial was officially opened on Armistice Day 1941 by Prime Minister John Curtin. The First World War – the war to end all wars – had been for nought.