How The Memorial Came Into Being

The first anniversary of the landing of the Australians at ANZAC Cove on the 25th April, 1915, witnessed the first practical effort by the people of New South Wales to erect a permanent edifice to the memory of that glorious feat of arms and of those who participated in it, but also, and generally, to the memory of all those members of the A.I.F. who lost their lives in the Great War.

A fund, opened for this purpose on that Day of Remembrance, was nobly responded to; and by the end of the War, it had grown to the fine total of $120,000. Many years were to elapse, however, before the project began to assume any concrete form. The design of the Memorial and the most appropriate site caused arguments which delayed its construction for many years.

The Institute of Architects urged upon the Government the advantage of erecting the Memorial in Hyde Park, but it was not until 1928 that the first steps for the erection of the Memorial on its present site were taken.

In July, 1929, the details of the competition for the Memorial designs were announced. On the 9th July, the awards for the successful designs were announced by the Governor, Sir Phillip Game. The first prize was won by Mr C. Bruce Dellit, the second by Mr John D. Moore and the third by Mr Peter A. Kaad - all from Sydney, and no fewer than 117 designs were received from all over the world.

In November, 1931, tenders were called for the erection of the edifice, the successful contractors being Messrs. Kell & Rigby; and shortly thereafter, the work was begun. By May 1932, the Memorial had commenced to take shape, and Mr Rayner Hoff to whom the sculpture had been entrusted, had his cast approved by the Trustees.

On the 19th July, 1932, the foundations were laid, the first by the Governor as a representative Returned Soldier, and the second by the Premier, the Hon B.S.B. Stevens, as representative of the citizens of New South Wales. His Royal Highness, the Duke of Gloucester, opened and dedicated the Memorial on 24th November, 1934, at a ceremony witnessed by approximately 100,000 people.

Today, the Memorial is complete to stand through the ages as a tribute to the memory of those who made the last great sacrifice that truth and liberty should not perish from the Earth.