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War Memorial

 
The Mandurah War Memorial

A Community Project

The Mandurah War Memorial is located on the northern point of the Western Foreshore in a prominent waterfront location that enjoys high visibility from both land and water.

Completed in April 2005, the Memorial has become a consecrated place of reflection and rest, to be used both as a formal platform for ceremonies - and as a device of journey, exploration, and experience for the individual.

This poignant site provides a spectacular setting for Mandurah’s War Memorial and is a constant visual reminder for residents and visitors to Mandurah of the brave sacrifices made by others so that we may live in peace.

The striking Mandurah War Memorial design was created by award winning architects Hames Sharley and honours the enormous contribution of servicemen and women who served in conflicts in which Australia was involved.

 

THE INSPIRATION

The inspiration for Hames Sharley’s design was based on a poem - a powerful tribute to Australian servicemen and women.

 

AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN‘

I crouched in a shallow trench on that hell of exposed beaches… Steeply rising foothills bare of cover … a landscape pockmarked with war’s inevitable litter… piles of stores… equipment… ammunition… and the weird contortions of death sculptured in Australian flesh… I saw the going down of the sun on that first ANZAC Day… the chaotic maelstrom of Australia’s blooding.

I fought in the frozen mud of the Somme… in a blazing destroyer exploding in the North Sea… I fought on the perimeter at Tobruk… crashed in the flaming wreckage of a fighter in New Guinea… lived with the dammed in the place named Changi.

I was your mate… the kid across the street… the med student at graduation… the mechanic at the corner garage… the baker who brought you bread… the gardener who cut your lawn… the clerk who sent your phone bill. 

I was an Army private… a Naval commander… an Air Force bombardier. No man knows me… no name marks my tomb, for I am every Australian serviceman… I am the Unknown Soldier. 

I died for a cause I held just in the service of my land… that you and yours may say in freedom… I am proud to be an Australian.’

 

This simply written Australian piece of literature is cast in its entirety on the entry statement signage with sections of the inspirational verse etched throughout the design elements.
This will allow those on a personal journey of exploration to move through the pillars and ponder at various stages of the Memorial, creating an emotive and very moving experience for the visitor.

 

THE DESIGN

The design created for the Mandurah community used as its starting point the traditional elements of a War Memorial and has drawn inspiration from the powerful repetitive elements of major memorial sites located around the world.
These pure white and striking images set in the simple backdrop of wide open spaces and green lawn is a powerful reminder of the sacrifice of war.

 

               

 

Like these compelling images, the Mandurah War Memorial design uses large white pillars to commemorate the loss of life, the wounded and those that returned - and their ultimate quest for peace.

The east/west orientation of the works is designed to capture the axis of the sun on ANZAC Day.

At dawn on ANZAC Day the rising sun lights up the columns and create a temporary guiding light to the highest peak of the memorial, which will be further enhanced by the line of dark shadows cast along the axis.

 

  

The elevated design that rises from the water on the east recreates the physical journey and emotional tension of those service men and women - who with exceptional courage stormed the beaches, and rose from trenches, to charge gallantly forward and face the conflict that confronted them.
The Memorial peaks at its highest point like the frenzied crescendo of conflict, and as the sun sets on the horizon and sinks into the ground we will experience the sense of survival and loss as the Memorial eases into its final resting place.

A grove of New Zealand Christmas, that has red flowers which burst into blossom sheds their blossoms and carpet the ground of this final resting place – creating a powerful reminder of the ANZAC spirit.

In its use as a ceremonial space, the Memorial includes a list of the theatres of war in which Australian service men and women were involved, elevated platforms for flags, speakers, wreath laying, room for a 50 strong choir and a catafalque party.

     

A remembrance stone carved from black granite is a prominent feature of the Memorial, and like the weeping pond that gently flows into the Mandurah Estuary will link with integrated pathways. This fusion of the design elements will not only provide an impressive entrance for ceremonial marches, but a dedicated entry point for visitors to the site.

 

 

LIGHTING AND SEATING

The four central columns of the Memorial will be fully illuminated at night and a number of remaining columns will be lit, primarily at their base. This will present a strong evening focus and striking image against inky water and the dark vastness of the Memorial site.
Permanent bench seating has been included in the Memorial design for visitors seeking a quiet place of rest and reflection.

 

ACCESSIBILITY

While the War Memorial has been designed in such a way that it is strong visually, it is also been carefully created to ensure good accessibility for those that wish to partake in ceremonies or explore the Memorial.
Graded ramps have been incorporated to the ceremonial space, speaker’s platform and the area designed for the laying of wreaths. The landscaped portion of the site has been softly graded allowing people of limited mobility to comfortably navigate through it.
The terraced pond is shallow, with the water feature still being accessible to wheelchairs on the larger platform areas.