Like an iceberg, there is a lot more going on under Melbourne’s imposing Shrine of Remembrance than expected.
In the Shrine’s undercroft there are now dedicated exhibition and education spaces that form the Galleries of Remembrance project.
This multi-million-dollar Victorian Government project tells the history of Australians at war, focusing on individual and unit stories of Victorian service.
The ground around the massive brick pillars used to support the Shrine was excavated to form the undercroft galleries, providing a unique and beautiful space for education and exhibition facilities.
The galleries emphasise the community origins of war service and sacrifice, using the best audio-visual techniques.
Displays vary between intimate and personal accounts and the bigger stories of war and peacekeeping.
One of the galleries’ installations is the Devanha (pictured below), one of six landing boats that ferried ANZAC troops to the beaches at Gallipoli. On permanent loan to the Shrine from the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, the Devanha later ferried the wounded to waiting ships off Gallipoli.
A WW2 Roll of Honour will introduce an important new commemorative component to the Shrine of Remembrance and will complement the existing WW2 Books of Remembrance. The electronic roll of honour will present the names of some 360,000 Victorians who enlisted to serve in the war. This will be accompanied by similar rolls of honour for Korea and Vietnam.
The redevelopment also houses a permanent education centre, which is enriched by the inclusion of an auditorium and three activity pods within the exhibition area.
A fourth learning pod provides a research centre where visitors will be encouraged to explore our history via computer kiosks.
The new Galleries of Remembrance opened on 11 November 2014.
For more information on the Shrine, go to shrine.org.au.
RACV and the Shrine
RACV has been a long-time supporter of the Shrine of Remembrance and ANZAC Day services.
Volunteers have been driving veterans to ANZAC Day services since it became a national day of remembrance in the 1920s.
In 1994 and 1995 it was a supporter of major fund-raising events aimed at financing the final stages of restoration work at the Shrine.
In 2003, as its gift to Victoria to mark RACV’s centenary, the organisation contributed to the development of the entry forecourt to the new Shrine of Remembrance Visitor Centre.
Originally published in RoyalAuto November 2014