Anzac Square restoration and enhancement
Anzac Square in Brisbane is Queensland's pre-eminent war memorial, commemorating the contribution of Australian armed forces and particularly, the service of Queensland’s men and women, in overseas conflicts since the Boer War. In recognition of the importance of this unique and much loved memorial, $13.6 million is being invested in a staged project to restore, protect, and make respectful enhancements.
The project has been a joint initiative between the Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council with three out of the four planned stages now complete. The refurbished undercroft spaces have been reopened to the public after the completion of stage 3. These areas now provide an opportunity for all visitors to Anzac Square to engage with Queensland’s military history and gain a richer understanding of the sacrifices the memorial represents. This has been achieved via the placement of plaques in a clear and organised manner, within dedicated rooms that represent the following periods of time, which they reflect.
Commemorative Gallery Names
- World War I Memorial Crypt (previously the Shrine of Memories)
- World War II Gallery (previously Memorial Crypt)
- Post World War II Memorial and Exhibition Gallery (previously Returned and Services League Queensland Headquarters (RSL QLD))
To enhance visitor experience in the newly refurbished gallery spaces, a full-time Information Officer has been appointed on-site. We would encourage you to stop by Anzac Square to view the enhanced areas and the many plaques that were restored by specialist craftsman.
Stage 1 of the project was completed in mid-2014 and involved stripping out the former RSL QLD Headquarters and thoroughly investigating the water penetration issues, and the structural condition of the substructure and walls. During this stage the original early 19th Century porphyry wall was uncovered. The wall retains Ann Street from the undercroft area, and was restored during stage 3 to further showcase the heritage significance of the site.
Stage 2 of the project was completed in April 2015 in time for the centenary of the landing at Anzac Cove on 25 April 2015. During this stage, critical works were undertaken to address water leakage into the undercroft areas, which damaged the rooms and galleries below and threatened the structural integrity of the memorial.
This stage also addressed issues with the reliability of the Eternal Flame by installing a new electronic ignition system inside the Eternal Flame urn. Repairs to the heritage elements included stonework and replacement tiles, and paving. During this time the Eternal Flame was temporarily relocated to the Anzac Square Parkland.
Stage 3 included the refurbishment and respectful enhancement of the heritage undercroft spaces and was completed in April 2016. The former RSL Queensland Branch headquarters has been transformed in to an Exhibition Gallery and now houses all post Second World War plaques.
An independent historian was engaged to research the history of Anzac Square and the stories behind the plaques housed in the memorial spaces. Following this research the project partners, in consultation with former senior Navy, Army, and Air Force personnel, categorised all plaques. This categorisation was in-line with the approach used by the Australian War Memorial.
Stage 3 also included new service infrastructure (power, data, communications, audiovisual, security, and mechanical), staff facilities, and improved connectivity to both parts of the undercroft via the pedestrian tunnel.
Work to be undertaken in stage 4 is yet to be finalised, however it will see further enhancement of the recently refurbished World War I Memorial Crypt, World War II Memorial Gallery, and Post World War II Memorial Gallery to provide further opportunities for interpretation of the memorials, and engagement with the public. The parkland will be enhanced to define it as a memorial site rather than a general recreation/mixed use site (including programmed replacement of senescent trees, memorial screens to walkways, new memorial to eastern sandstone wall and improved entries from Adelaide Street).