Hands off Anzac Hall! Change.org petition to save award-winning building at Australian War Memorial

The Australian War Memorial’s Anzac Hall, less than 20 years old, won the Sir Zelman Cowen award for Australian public architecture. It is threatened with demolition as part of the Memorial’s $498m expansion program.

There is a petition on Change.org to save Anzac Hall. From the petition:

In this age of unprecedented calls for real-world problems to be solved – from drought relief for farmers and rural communities, shortages of mental and physical health services for actual living war veterans, to action on preventing climate change – half a billion dollars is a prima facie waste of public money; not to mention the complete waste of a perfectly good existing building and the all embodied energy and carbon that its recent construction represents.

The expansion program is built around the destruction of Anzac Hall. Should Anzac Hall survive, either as a result of public outcry or an adverse Heritage determination under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act – even the Memorial admits there are Heritage implications in its destruction – the expansion program would be seriously jeopardised.

Many opponents of the expansion program believe the issues are broader than whether or not Anzac Hall survives – they argue, for example, that the $498m would be better spent on direct benefits to veterans – but anyone concerned at the destruction of Anzac Hall is urged to sign the Change.org petition. For more information on the issues, see the campaign diary of Heritage Guardians.

The War Memorial has just completed public consultations on an EPBC Act Referral and its spokespeople have argued that the small numbers attending these events indicate there is no opposition to the expansion program. Opponents would argue, on the other hand, that the small numbers were due to the lack of notice, the lack of publicity, and misinformation that the events were ‘invitation only’ when tickets were readily available on Eventbrite. (Update 3 January 2020: Sue Wareham of Heritage Guardians and MAPW in The Riot Act on the inadequacies of the consultation process.)

The Change.org petition is an opportunity to put the Memorial straight on public attitudes to its plans. The link to the petition, again.

David Stephens

13 December 2019 updated

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