McIlroy, Tom: ‘Dangerous precedent’: Architects seek War Memorial redevelopment halt

Tom McIlroy

“Dangerous precedent”: Architects seek War Memorial redevelopment halt’, Australian Financial Review, 23 August 2020 updated (Pdf from our subscription)

Update 2 September 2020: In Financial Review letters, former Memorial officer, Stewart Mitchell, responds to Director Anderson (pdf from our subscription).

Update 27 August 2020: Memorial Director Anderson responds. Pdf from our subscription.

Update 25 August 2020: Memorial Director Anderson and Architects’ Shannon Battison on ABC Canberra.

Update 25 August 2020: Greens Senator, Sarah Hanson-Young, condemns the project as ‘a soulless monstrosity’. And the Riot Act has the story, too.


As noted previously, the Australian Institute of Architects have written an open letter to federal MPs, calling for a halt to the War Memorial project. Clare Cousins, former national president of the Institute, asked MPs to reject the redevelopment on the grounds that it ‘fails to protect the heritage of the AWM for all Australians’ and includes the ‘wasteful and unnecessary’ demolition of Anzac Hall.

‘The Australian Financial Review has been told’, McIlroy writes, ‘some MPs have strong reservations about the project’s price tag and scope, with some privately arguing more funding should go to veterans’ services, including mental health’.

The architects want Parliament’s Public Works Committee to delay a final recommendation until the completion of a separate heritage process under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

The article also refers to opposition from the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).