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| Get Lost at Shrine of Remembrance
“ANZAC is not merely about loss. It is about courage and endurance, and duty, and love of country, and mateship, and good, humour, and the survival of a sense of self-worth, and decency in the face of dreadful odds” – a quote from Sir William Deane’s speech on ANZAC Day 1999-
Just gazing with the slack-jawed mouth to words carved at a wall. Words –which have a deep and wonderful meaning, in my opinion — that touched my heart notwithstanding that I’m not Australian nor New Zealand sheila. Those words describe how they uphold the merits of people serving for the country.
Last 16 of March 2014, we explored one of Melbourne’s most iconic landmark, Shrine of Remembrance. It’s located in Kings Domain on St. Kilda Road. It is a memorial construction to honour men and women of Victoria who served in war – particularly World War I and to recall the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day and Remembrance Day. The main structure is a central sanctuary/shrine made of granite contain marble stone of Remembrance with words “Greater Love Hath no Man” engraved on it. We can see a ray of light is simulated to hit the stone from the aperture of roof upon it every 11.am. It’s originated to remember the armistice day which ended World War I at 11.a.m. of 11 November. Massive portico, great urns, rock solid balustrades, vast doors, the lines of gigantic poles, and classical sculpture on panels that represent the story of the battles just reminded me of Parthenon in Athens.
This sanctuary is surrounded by passages where we can find 42 hand written books illuminated by dimming lights containing thousands names of Australian Army who have served or died during World War I. The passages led us to stairway which took us to the upper part of the sanctuary: promenade decks. We could see magnificent view of Melbourne from there such as beautiful gardens, the azure sky, and the ruthless skyscrapers. There were four groups of statuary which stood on each corner of Shrine, representing Patriotism, Sacrifice, Justice and Peace, and Goodwill. It felt like I was being taken by the sculptors to the Neoclassicism of Ancient Greece.
Before we entered the sanctuary, cross shaped Second World War Forecourt would greet us. It consist of cenotaph, eternal flame, and flagpoles. The 12.5 meter cenotaph depicted 6 men in battle carried the bier of their fallen comrade. The places named on the cenotaph described the battlefield where they served in the 2nd World War. The eternal flame which presents the eternal life placed nearby and was lit by Queen Elizabeth II in 1954. The arrangement of the flags comprised Australian Flag, Victorian Flag, and one of the three defence forces.
On the eastern side of the Shrine, you’ll find a lovely Legacy Garden of Appreciation features red poppies, flower that has become synonymous with great loss of life in war. It aimed to keep alive the memories of those who have died during the war. Just a few metres across it, a garden called Gallipoli memorial stretched along the way. We could find Lone Pine Tree (tree on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey, which marked the site of the Battle of Lone Pine in 1915) which is seeded from the original pine cone in the battle field. The well-known bronze sculpture of “The man with the donkey” showed a soldier from the Medical Corps transporting a wounded cobber commemorated all who gave their lives to help others.
Just the opposite of the garden, a reddish-brown Entry Courtyard welcomed us to enter Gallery of Medals, Exhibition Spaces, Visitor Centre, and Auditorium. The main gate consists of walls. The one wall inscribed “Lest We Forget”, and a quote from former Governor-General Sir William Deane on the other. The gallery displayed 4000 medals of who have served in war and peacekeeping. While the exhibition spaces presented photographs and many objects emphasized the story behind World War.
Overall, I was amazed by Shrine of Remembrance by which Australian Government put their efforts in the attempt of keeping their epical heroism value alive throughout the changing generations. It aims to provide profound understanding toward the community about their predecessor’s services for country, so that Patriotism, Sacrifice, Justice and Peace, and Goodwill won’t merely be symbols.
I do hope that the government and parents of every youth in my beloved country also develop continuous efforts as well, in order to instill the value of honor and pride of country for my generation and many following generations, so that our love for Indonesia finally lead us to give our best service for society. Education, cenotaph, memorial building, mass media, anything….
Anything that are able to remind us and our children about our ancestor’s bloody hell struggle for our today’s independence, LEST WE FORGET….
Tram stop to this destination: Domain Interchange
Ira Febriana Sari