Honest History E-Newsletter No. 65: Special Edition, 6 July 2020: War Memorial project threatens national heritage

ISSN: 2202-5561 ©

Heritage Guardians advice to readers intending to provide feedback to the Australian War Memorial on heritage aspects of the Memorial’s $498m extensions project

The Memorial has placed on its website a mass of documentation on the extensions project.

The documentation addresses heritage aspects – under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act – of the project.

Public feedback will be accepted up till 5 pm, Friday, 31 July. The Memorial’s website includes instructions.

Readers with views on this project are urged to take time to provide feedback. Consistent with our campaign over almost 18 months, Heritage Guardians and Honest History urge readers to express their opposition to the project.

This post on the Honest History website contains a guide to the War Memorial material for readers to consider in preparing feedback. We hope to provide further commentary soon in our campaign diary. Heritage Guardians’ recent Submission No. 40 to the Public Works Committee (PWC) inquiry into the project summarised some key arguments:

The Memorial can meet its obligations without continuing with the project.

The Memorial should manage within its existing space – and make hard decisions about how to use it.

The Memorial’s ambition to provide a ‘therapeutic milieu’ for recent veterans is inappropriate and misguided – and a smokescreen for its demand for space to display planes, helicopters, and other retired military equipment.

Much of the new space will be used to display large technology objects, particularly planes and helicopters, serving as a convenient advertisement for their manufacturers.

The money would be better spent on direct benefits to veterans and their families, and on other cultural institutions.

The extensions will destroy the Memorial’s character, affect its heritage status, and entail the demolition of the award-winning Anzac Hall.

Many readers will have provided submissions to the PWC inquiry. While the EPBC exercise is separate from the PWC inquiry, the PWC will take note of the public feedback received on the Memorial’s documentation. It is important for interested readers to be involved in both processes. The Memorial has consistently made exaggerated claims about the degree of public support for this project and the best way to meet these claims is with evidence of opposition.

Heritage Guardians

The members of the Heritage Guardians committee are: Brendon Kelson, former Director, Australian War Memorial; Dr Charlotte Palmer, committee member, Medical Association for Prevention of War (ACT Branch); Professor Peter Stanley, UNSW Canberra; Dr David Stephens, Editor, Honest History website; Dr Sue Wareham OAM, President, Medical Association for Prevention of War.

Heritage Guardians and Honest History