A structure of sandstone and glass will house the ongoing stories of our veterans in the Australian War Memorial’s (AWM) development project.
The AWM has released concept images of its expansion works, which will include galleries containing the Our Continuing Story displays, launched on November 19.
The expansion will feature a glazed dome spanning from the main building to Anzac Hall, and a glass, funnel-shaped centrepiece, called the “oculus”, in the underground foyer.
Anzac Hall will double in size and an underground southern entrance will be built.
The AWM’s heritage facade will remain unchanged.
Outgoing AWM director Brendan Nelson said it was time to modernise and expand the galleries so the stories of veterans of contemporary operations could be told.
“Our responsibility to tell their stories, tell them now and proudly, is no less than the decisions to send them on operations in the first place,” Dr Nelson said.
Our Continuing Story launched with a collection of interviews with young ADF veterans about their experiences on operations.
Corporal Amanda Robbie, of Army Headquarters, described being deployed to Afghanistan as a 22-year-old as a surreal experience.
“The rocket alarms go off and you have to take cover – and that’s when it hits home that, yes, you are just doing your job, but you are still in a war zone and you still have to carry your rifle around wherever you go,” Corporal Robbie said.
She said she didn’t see herself “as the same type of soldier that the AWM remembers”.
“I think the development of the new galleries is a really good opportunity to connect the past experiences with what has been and is going on for individuals and families today,” Corporal Robbie said.
Minor works on the project started early in 2019, while most of the work will take place from 2021-25. Completion is expected by 2027.
More information about the expansion, including concept art, is available at awm.gov.au/ourcontinuingstory/ourplans or in the information gallery outside Poppy’s Cafe at the AWM.