Stephens, David: ‘Desolation Row’: latest pictures as the Australian War Memorial $498m megabuild gets under way

David Stephens*

‘”Desolation Row”**: latest pictures as the Australian War Memorial $498m megabuild gets under way’, Honest History, 21 October 2021 updated

Our photographer took these pictures yesterday and today (except for one which is much older). The Memorial’s spin-doctors at one stage referred to the demolition of Anzac Hall at the Memorial as ‘deconstruction’. We have even heard that another euphemism, ‘dismantling’, is being used. Earlier photos.

The pictures show the real story: demolition, destruction, desolation, desecration. Remember that we still have not seen the National Capital Authority’s consultation report on the Main Works at the Memorial, due before the end of October. That report will wave the redevelopment through; it could hardly do anything else, given that the existing Memorial is disappearing under the assault from excavators and wrecking balls. Today, we understand, the trees around the Parade Ground are coming down.

According to the Prime Minister, the Memorial is sacred to us all. According to the Director of the Memorial, it is our most sacred place. The pictures show what we Australians do to our sacred places.

* David Stephens is editor of the Honest History website and has been convener of the Heritage Guardians group. The photographs were supplied.

** ‘Desolation Row‘ is a song by Bob Dylan from 1965. Some of the lyrics (‘the circus is in town … here comes the blind commissioner … Everybody’s shouting, “Which side are you on?”) are somewhat relevant to what is happening at the Memorial; it’s a hell of a song, anyway. It also dates from a time when the future of the world looked rather bleak, like it does now. Still, the new, bigger War Memorial will be ready to commemorate the (uniformed Australian) victims.

Anzac Hall and rear of Memorial, 2001, soon after completion of Anzac Hall (photo: John Gollings)

The rear of the Memorial today, with Anzac Hall destroyed (photo supplied)

 

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