Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester called it a noble Shrine, erected as a symbol of gratitude to those who fought to secure to the world the blessings of peace in his 1934 dedication speech. Today, the Shrine of Remembrance is more than an icon of cultural and heritage significance for all Australians. It is an important and meaningful landmark in Melbourne. This unique venue with a museum, exhibition centre, gallery, lecture hall and lookout point is one of the city's top attractions, visited by hundreds of thousands of local and intentional travellers each year.
Dedicated as a memorial to the men and women of Victoria who served in World War I, the Shrine of Remembrance was the first national war memorial in Australia back in 1934. It has been the centre of Anzac Day commemorations, where a dawn service and wreath-laying ceremony are held. Today it recognises the service by Victorians and Australians in all conflicts from the 1850s to the present day and also serves as an archive for preserving and sharing important stories about war, peace, service and lessons learnt.
The Shrine of Remembrance was designed and built by veterans of the First World War including architects Phillip Hudson and James Wardrop. It was inspired by the classical architecture of the Tomb of Mausolus at Halicarnassus and the Parthenon in Athens. The result was a stone structure of monumental impact, seated upon a grassy mound with a vast undercroft and overlooking the surrounding park.
An inner sanctum or 'Sanctuary' allows a ray of light to illuminate the word 'love' on the Stone of Remembrance embedded below the Sanctuary's marble floor. This 'Ray of Light' traces its path across the commemorative stone every half hour as it does naturally at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month each year to commemorate the Armistice that ended the First World War.
Melbourne architects Ashton Raggatt McDougall (ARM) in conjunction with landscape architects Rush Wright and Associates add contemporary upgrades in 2003 and 2014, transforming the Victorian state memorial with new entries, visitor centre, lecture theatre, facilities and a labyrinth of galleries beneath the inner sanctum.
An annual calendar of programs including permanent exhibitions, special exhibitions, collections and events engage visitors to the Shrine. You can enjoy free access to many areas of the Shrine without the need for tickets or a guide.
Highlights include the Galleries of Remembrance which contains over 800 artworks, historical artefacts and personal effects from Pre-Federation to the present day. They tell stories of wartime and peacekeeping efforts abroad and in Australia.
A wall of medals 40 metres long houses over 4,000 replica of service medals awarded to Australians by the British, Australian and South Vietnamese Governments. They symbolise the service of 400,000 Victorian men and women who contribute to war and peacekeeping operations.
Other interesting features include the Eternal Flame on the Forecourt, The Man with the Donkey bronze sculpture and the giant Flanders poppy that shades the Student Entry courtyard and cloth poppies in the walls.
The Shrine of Remembrance operates guided small group walking tours of the venue. Led by a professional tour guide, you can learn more about the classically inspired architecture of the building, experience the Ray of Light ceremony, take in the views of Melbourne from the balcony and explore the galleries.
The tour run daily from the Visitor Centre for 75 minutes at 11am and 12.45pm. The prices are Adult $34.00, Concession $29.00, First child $19.00, Second child and any additional children (maximum of nine) $15.00 (each). Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. This tour is not recommended for children under 6 years.