Hall of Memory - The Pillars

Janet Laurence (b. 1947), an Australian artist, with architect Peter Tonkin (b. 1953), completed the Pillars in 1993. They mirror the masonry pillars in the three stained-glass windows, and are 9.3 metres high. Their inspiration comes from an ancient world view that persists today: each represents one of the four basic elements that symbolise every aspect of creation.

Janet Laurence and Peter Tonkin, Four pillars 1992, marble, wood, steel, glass, each 930.0 x 40.3 x 118.6 cm, acquired under commission 1992, ART91887

The Air pillar is made of wood; the jarrah with its polished surface is associated with breath and flight, with the disembodied spirit and the souls of the dead.

The Fire pillar is made of metal, and its edges suggest a sword, tempered by flame; it is associated with energy and passion, patriotism and bravery.

The Earth pillar is made of marble, associated with permanence and strength; it is the earth on which we live and to which we return in the coldness of death.

The Water pillar is made of glass, ice-like and colourless. Water is the source of life and symbolises flow and change, thus linking earthly life and the souls of the dead.

Read about the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier