|For the war dead of New South Wales from all conflicts|
|Unveiled||25 April 1927|
|Location|| Coordinates: |
|Designed by||Sir Bertram Mackennal|
|Official name||Cenotaph; Martin Place Memorial; The Cenotaph|
|Type||State heritage (built)|
|Designated||11 November 2009|
|Category||Monuments and Memorials|
|Builders||Dorman Long & Co|
The Sydney Cenotaph is a heritage-listed monument located in Martin Place, in the Sydney central business district, in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia. It was designed by Bertram Mackennal and built from 1927 to 1929 by Dorman Long & Co. It is also known as Martin Place Memorial and The Cenotaph. It is one of the oldest World War I monuments in central Sydney. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 11 November 2009.
The Sydney central business district is the main commercial centre of Sydney, the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia. It extends southwards for about 3 km (2 mi) from Sydney Cove, the point of first European settlement in which the Sydney region was initially established. Due to its pivotal role in Australia's early history, it is one of the oldest established areas in the country.
The City of Sydney is the local government area covering the Sydney central business district and surrounding inner city suburbs of the greater metropolitan area of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Established by Act of Parliament in 1842, the City of Sydney is the oldest, and the oldest-surviving, local government authority in New South Wales, and the second-oldest in Australia, with only the City of Adelaide being older by two years.
New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In March 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 7.9 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.
The cenotaph takes the form of a monolithic stone block in a sepulchral shape. At its two shorter ends stand two bronze statues, a soldier and a sailor guarding the cenotaph. Words are carved into the longer faces of the cenotaph: on the southern side, facing the General Post Office, the carving reads: "To Our Glorious Dead"; on the northern side, facing Challis House, it reads: "Lest We Forget." Remembrance events are frequently held at the Cenotaph. Most importantly, it is the centre for Sydney's main ANZAC and Armistice Day dawn service ceremonies, regularly drawing thousands of attendees.
A cenotaph is an empty tomb or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere. It can also be the initial tomb for a person who has since been reinterred elsewhere. Although the vast majority of cenotaphs honour individuals, many noted cenotaphs are instead dedicated to the memories of groups of individuals, such as the lost soldiers of a country or of an empire.
Armistice Day is commemorated every year on 11 November to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France at 5:45 am, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning—the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918. But, according to Thomas R. Gowenlock, an intelligence officer with the US First Division, shelling from both sides continued for the rest of the day, only ending at nightfall. The armistice initially expired after a period of 36 days and had to be extended several times. A formal peace agreement was only reached when the Treaty of Versailles was signed the following year.
Coastal Aboriginal people who lived around Sydney lived off the rich plant, bird, animal and marine life surrounding the harbour for tens of thousands of years. Within the City of Sydney local government area, the traditional owners are the Cadigal and Wangal bands of the Eora. Their ancient lifestyle was catastrophically upturned when the site was chosen by Governor Phillip for an English penal settlement in 1788.
The local government areas (LGA) of New South Wales in Australia describes the institutions and processes by which areas, cities, towns, municipalities, regions, shires, and districts can manage their own affairs to the extent permitted by the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW).
The Cadigal, also spelled as Gadigal and Caddiegal, are a group of indigenous Australians whose traditional lands are located in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The Cadigal originally inhabited the area that they called "Cadi" that lies south of Port Jackson covering today's Sydney central business district and stretches from South Head to Petersham with part of the southern boundary lying on the Cooks River.
The Wangal people were a clan of the Eora Aboriginal people whose heirs are custodians of the lands and waters of the current Municipality of Strathfield and surrounding areas of Sydney, New South Wales.
One and a quarter centuries later, the independent nation of Australia volunteered to help Great Britain when it declared war in 1914, and despatched troops to fight in what soon became known as the Great War. Australians fought in the Middle East and Europe. Casualties were severe. By the time of the Armistice in November 1918, of a total of 331,781 enlistments who had embarked for overseas, 215,585 service personnel, a proportion of nearly 65%, had become casualties. Many of these men had died rather than being wounded.Grief was widespread across the community.
World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.
Due to a delay in the completion of the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park, the Cenotaph was built in Martin Place to serve the needs of people who needed a focus for commemoration and mourning for the sacrifices of the Great War. In November 1924, the Sunday Times reported a plea by Fred Davison, a senior RSL member. He advocated building a memorial in Martin Place where so many appeals and recruiting rallies had been held during the war, and where so many commemorative events had been held since the end of the war. Hugh D. McIntosh, proprietor of the Sunday Times persuaded the new premier Jack Lang in 1925 to set aside £ 10,000 to erect a cenotaph.
The Anzac Memorial is a heritage-listed war memorial, museum and monument located in Hyde Park South, near Liverpool Street, in the Sydney central business district, in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia. The Art Deco monument was designed by C. Bruce Dellit, with the exterior adorned with monumental figural reliefs and sculptures by Rayner Hoff, and built from 1932 to 1934 by Kell & Rigby. It is also known as Anzac War Memorial, War Memorial Hyde Park and Hyde Park Memorial. The NSW Government-owned property was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 23 April 2010.
Hyde Park is a heritage-listed 16.2-hectare (40-acre) urban park located in the central business district of Sydney, in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia, Hyde Park is the oldest public parkland in Australia. Hyde Park is on the eastern fringe of the Sydney city centre and is approximately rectangular in shape, being squared at the southern end and rounded at the northern end. It is bordered on the west by Elizabeth Street, on the east by College Street, on the north by St. James Road and Prince Albert Road and on the south by Liverpool Street. The park was designed by Norman Weekes, Sir John Sulman, Alfred Hook, W. G. Layton and I. Berzins and was built from 1810 to 1927. It is also known as Hyde Park, Sydney Common, Government Domain, The Common, The Exercising Ground, Cricket Ground and Racecourse. Hyde Park is owned by the City of Sydney and the Land and Property Management Authority, an agency of the Government of New South Wales. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 13 December 2011.
John Thomas Lang, usually referred to as J. T. Lang during his career and familiarly known as "Jack" and nicknamed "The Big Fella", was an Australian politician who twice served as the 23rd Premier of New South Wales from 1925 to 1927 and again from 1930 to 1932. He was dismissed by the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Philip Game, at the climax of the 1932 constitutional crisis and resoundingly lost the resulting election and subsequent elections as Leader of the Opposition. He later formed Lang Labor and was briefly a member of the Australian House of Representatives.
Unlike most other war memorials in Australia, the Martin Place Cenotaph, meaning "empty tomb", does not name individuals, but instead mourns and commemorates the communal sacrifice of lives lost at war. It was based an Australian reworking of a new type of memorial developed in London by Edwin Lutyens for Whitehall in 1919 as a 'tomb on pylon, inscribed only with words composed by the Prime Minister, Lloyd George, "The Glorious Dead" '. Installed temporarily to be saluted by troops of the empire during the victory march through London on 19 July 1919, the London Cenotaph spoke so powerfully to bereaved people that Lutyens had to make it again in stone'. p155)(
It was unusual for the NSW Government to fund a war memorial, since almost all memorials were organised and funded by voluntary committees rather than by government. However, Lang had opposed conscription during the war and had been involved in anti-imperialist movements. Promoting a new image of himself and his government as 'the Soldier's Friend' was one response to the growing strength of veterans' organisations. p298–9) Positioned where so many recruiting rallies and wartime events occurred, the Cenotaph was directly linked to the events of the Great War.(
The "Memorial Committee" of the State Government, City Council and ex-service organisations oversaw the project. A proposed competition to design the Cenotaph did not eventuate because Premier Lang instead approached sculptor Sir Bertram Mackennal when he was visiting Sydney from England and commissioned him to undertake the work. A contract was signed with Mackennal on 9 March 1926.Mackennal had designed the tomb of Edward VII at Windsor and the medals for the Olympic Games of 1908. He also constructed the statues of Cardinal Patrick Moran and Archbishop Michael Kelly which stand at the southern end of St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney.
For the Cenotaph in Martin Place, Mackennal designed a "chunky rectangular form guarded by a soldier and sailor". p300) It was a more modest version of a sculpture he had designed for a cenotaph in Brisbane, which was never built. It was disliked by some critics at that time, such as Building magazine's George Taylor who charged that it was "a mere tombstone for people to put wreaths up against". The artist Margaret Preston admired the "stern simplicity" of the stone slab but objected to the realism of the servicemen. Mackennnal's depiction may have been influenced by the sculpture designed for the Royal Artillery Memorial in London by Charles Sargeant Jagger, whose figures were also realistic rather than stylised. (p300–1) The designs for the figures were also criticised for being "at ease" without their arms reversed - the normal mourning stance for military personnel at memorial ceremonies. Mackennal responded: "Memorial not a tomb. Figures not mourning. Guarding altar of remembrance.". In the words of Ken Inglis 'it may have been the very blankness of Mackennal's Cenotaph... that allowed so many people over the years to feel comforted in its presence'. (p300)(
In March 1927, Mackennal arranged for Dorman Long to erect the granite pedestal and John Bradfield (who was on the Memorial Committee) to supervise. There were 23 stones in the pedestal all carefully arranged so that any white or black markings would not be noticeable.The main block of granite came from the Moruya quarry of Dorman Long & Co, where on 9 July 1927, Bradfield oversaw the cutting of the granite. All the dressing and lettering was completed at Moruya by Bill Benzie and Mr Joe Wallace. Italian stonemason Fueravante Cadiccio came to Sydney to erect it. State Records NSW holds photographs of the granite block being prepared at Moruya. Similarly, there are photographs of the positioning of the main slab with a block and tackle using Yale Spur-geared Blocks.
The monument was designed with the images of two servicemen cast in bronze on either side of a central plinth, topped by a bronze wreath. They were modelled on two real returned servicemen. The soldier was based on Private William Pigott Darby who had served at Gallipoli while the sailor was based on Leading Signalman John William Varcoe who had served in the RAN. p301) Darby was born on 25 April 1872 in Monasterevin, Co. Kildare, Ireland. He served in the US Army during the Spanish–American War and in 1914 then enlisted in the AIF at Toowoomba. He was actually 42 and not 38 as he stated on the form, presumably if he was over 40, he would not have been accepted into the army. He was part of the ANZAC force that landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, the morning of his 43rd birthday and served as a stretcher-bearer with 15 Infantry Battalion and later 4 Field Ambulance. He was part of the ANZAC force that served at The Somme, where he was blown up and deafened in a shell explosion on 12 August 1916. He returned to Australia in January 1918 and was discharged as a Lance Sergeant, ending his AIF service as a medical orderly at the military hospital at Randwick. He died in Queensland at the age of 63. Leading Seaman John William Varcoe, RAN, was born at Bakers Swamp in 1897. He entered the RAN on 3 June 1913 and trained in Training Ship Tingara. Varcoe was drafted to HMVS Cerberus and HMAS Pioneer before joining the destroyer HMAS Parramatta (D55) in 1917. By then a signalman, he served in Parramatta until 20 July 1919. The destroyer was one of six RAN River Class destroyers based at Brindisi, Italy. On 15 November 1917, an Italian steamer, Orione, was torpedoed while on passage from Valona to Brindisi. Parramatta took Orione in tow and, while setting up the tow, the two ships were again attacked by a submarine. Parramatta continued with the tow until relieved by a tug. Varcoe had been aboard Orione and for his efforts in maintaining communications he was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal. He was discharged from the Navy at Sydney on 8 April 1928.(
A ceremony of dedication had been held on 8 August 1927. The completed memorial was officially unveiled by NSW Premier Thomas Bavin on 21 February 1929 with a speech by Sir John Monash. 20 tonnes (20 long tons; 22 short tons).Made of granite, it weighs
The Dawn Service arose from events during the erection of the Cenotaph. At dawn on Anzac Day, 25 April 1927, five returned men happened upon an elderly woman laying a wreath at the still incomplete Cenotaph. Impressed by the solemnity of the moment, they convinced the secretary of the Australian Legion Mr E. A. Rushbrook MBE to conduct an official service at dawn at the Sydney Cenotaph on 25 April 1928. Conceived as an opportunity to lay wreaths and remember the Anzacs in silence, it began at 4.30 am, at the time when the first Anzacs had landed at Gallipoli. It was not advertised but attracted 150 people in its first year. Public interest encouraged the organisers to invite the president of the Returned Soldiers' Sailors' Imperial League of Australia (later renamed the Returned and Services League or RSL), Dean Talbot, to offer a prayer at the service. By 1930 a crowd of 2,000 attended and a bugler was added. The following year, the Governor's presence made the dawn service even more official. Most of these elements are retained in the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Sydney's Cenotaph, which still attracts large crowds every year. p329–32)When historian Charles Bean attended the 1931 Dawn Service at Wellington, he observed that holding the service at this time was appropriate since dawn was usually the hour when the major battles of the Great War had commenced. (
The idea of the Dawn Service has been extended to other states as well. The rising sun with its promise of a bright new day, the memory of the tension of waiting for the whistle blast that signalled the order to advance and the rising sun badge which Australian soldiers of the AIF wore on their slouch hats brings a complex imagery into play at every Dawn Service. Since the first Anzac Day ceremony was held at the Cenotaph in 1928, it began to emerge as the major focus for mourning and commemoration in NSW.
The Cenotaph has gained a sacrosanct place in the history of war memorial services in NSW. Furthermore, it is not only a focus for Australian mourning and memory. Visiting dignitaries often place wreaths on the Cenotaph. On 4 July 1942, for instance, US troops stationed in Australia laid wreaths on the Cenotaph on the US Independence Day, in memory of the US troops who died in the defence of the Philippines.
A proposal to add sculptures of an airman and a nurse in 1962 did not come to fruition. Many people, even former aircrew, agreed that it was more powerful as a simple symbol for all rather than as naturalistic representations of everyone who had served. p390) Another proposal in 1954 to shift the Cenotaph came to nothing, though some chains were installed around it and the plinth was enlarged. (p420) A City Council photo of 11 August 1966 showed bollards had been installed by this date. Peace groups and feminist organisations opposed to aspects of the Anzac legend from the 1970s onwards have focused their protests on the Cenotaph at Martin Place. (p466) The conversion of Martin Place into a pedestrian plaza from the 1960s onwards reduced threats to the monument from traffic.(
The Cenotaph in Martin Place is a restrained memorial designed as a granite altar with a bronze serviceman at each end. The altar stone, quarried in Moruya in 1927, is 3.05m long, 1.65m wide and 1.25m high sitting above a 970mm stepped base, which runs east to west following the street alignment of Martin Place. It is positioned directly over the Tank Stream which flows in an underground channel beneath it.
The larger than life size sculptures of servicemen at the east and west ends are by Australian expatriot sculptor Bertram Mackennal and stand on Moruya granite plinths. The eastern sculpture is of an infantryman from Gallipoli, Private William Pigot Derby, the western is a RAN signalman, John William Varcoe. Both are depicted realistically, wearing their uniforms, packs and carrying weapons. The men stand in the "at ease" position, guarding the Cenotaph. On the top of the altar is a bronze wreath. The servicemen each face a flagpole approximately 3m from the monument.
The north face of the cenotaph is inscribed on its north face, "TO OUR GLORIOUS DEAD" (similar to the words used in the London Cenotaph at Whitehall, 'the glorious dead'). On the south face are the words: "LEST WE FORGET". The Cenotaph and flagpoles is narrowly enclosed by a low fence of metal bollards linked by a metal chain. A white poplar tree was planted several metres from either end of the Cenotaph during the 1970s.
As at 20 July 2009, Excellent physical condition.
Bollards and chains around cenotaph apparently added by Sydney City Council in the 1950s. Populus alba were planted on the axis of the Cenotaph at eastern and western ends 1970s.
The model for the soldier was Private William Pigott Darby from the 15th Infantry Battalion (Gallipoli & the Western Front; wounded at Pozières) and 4th Field Ambulance AIF. A native of Monasterevin, Ireland (born 25 April 1872), he died in Brisbane on 15 November 1935.
The model for the sailor was Leading Seaman John William Varcoe. He enlisted on 3 June 1913, served on HMAS Pioneer (1914–1916) in German East Africa and on HMAS Parramatta (1917–1919). He was awarded the Commonwealth Distinguished Service Medal in 1918 (one of 60 Australians to earn this honour) and died in October 1948.
As at 12 November 2009, The Cenotaph is of State historical significance for its embodiment of collective grief at the loss of life by Australian servicemen in World War I. It is also of historical significance to the State for its role in inaugurating the "Dawn Service" on Anzac Day in 1929, the year it was opened, a tradition now observed on Anzac Day throughout Australia. Unlike most other war memorials in Australia, the Cenotaph, meaning "empty tomb", does not name individuals, but instead mourns and commemorates the communal sacrifice of lives lost at war. This makes it both representative and rare as a war memorial. The Cenotaph is of State significance for its historical association with those who lost their lives at war and with those who have mourned them. It is of State aesthetic significance as an Australian reworking of the British prototype cenotaph developed by Edwin Lutyens for Whitehall in 1919, and as an example of the monumental sculpture work of Bertram Mackennal. Its design shows restrained symbolism in the simple granite altar guarded by two servicemen. The Cenotaph is of State social significance as a powerful focal point for memorial services in NSW associated with all wars and conflicts.
Cenotaph was listed on the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 11 November 2009 having satisfied the following criteria.
The place is important in demonstrating the course, or pattern, of cultural or natural history in New South Wales.
The Cenotaph is of State historical significance for its embodiment of collective grief at the loss of Australian servicemen and women's lives in World War I. It provides compelling evidence of the impact of the Great War on the people of NSW. The Cenotaph is also of historical significance for its role in inaugurating the "Dawn Service" on Anzac Day in 1928, the year it was opened, a tradition now observed on Anzac Day throughout Australia and internationally (for example, at Gallipoli in Turkey). Unlike most other war memorials in Australia, the Cenotaph, meaning "empty tomb", does not name individuals, but instead mourns and commemorates the communal sacrifice of lives lost at war. Positioned in Martin Place where so many recruiting rallies and wartime events occurred, the Cenotaph is physically and symbolically linked to the Australian experience of the Great War.
The place has a strong or special association with a person, or group of persons, of importance of cultural or natural history of New South Wales's history.
The Cenotaph of State significance for its historical association with the servicemen and women whose loss of life has been commemorated in services focused on it since 1928. It is also of State significance for its association with the people and organisations that have commemorated those lives lost at war, especially the Returned Servicemen's League (RSL), which maintains a custodial role over the monument. Prominent individuals associated with the Cenotaph include its sculptor, Bertram Mackennal (the first Australian-born artist to be knighted), JJ Bradfield who supervised its erection and the NSW premier JT Lang whose government funded it.
The place is important in demonstrating aesthetic characteristics and/or a high degree of creative or technical achievement in New South Wales.
The Cenotaph is of State significance as an Australian reworking of the British prototype cenotaph developed by Edwin Lutyens for Whitehall in 1919. p155) It is also significant as a well-known, restrained example of the monumental sculpture work of Bertram Mackennal. The design of this "altar of remembrance", as Mackennal described it, is unusual in its simplicity - a rectangular block of granite, flanked by realistic, slightly larger than life sized figures depicting a soldier and a sailor, standing guard. Although initially criticized for its simple sculptural qualities, 'it may have been the very blankness of Mackennal's Cenotaph . . . that allowed so many people over the years to feel comforted in its presence'. (p300)(
The place has a strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group in New South Wales for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.
The Cenotaph is of State social significance for its long-time role as a ceremonial focus for memorial services by numerous veterans' organizations, individuals and groups representing civilians affected by war. Its role in the inauguration of the Dawn Service, a major part of every Anzac Day ceremony, enhances its association with a deeply felt strand of popular remembrance. Positioned in a pedestrian thoroughfare in Sydney's central business district it maintains a solemn reminder of the sacrifices that Australians have made at war.
The place has potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of the cultural or natural history of New South Wales.
It does not appear to meet this criterion of State significance.
The place possesses uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of the cultural or natural history of New South Wales.
The Cenotaph is of State significance for its rarity in NSW as a war memorial that does not name individuals, but instead mourns and commemorates the communal sacrifice of lives lost at war. It is also rare as the only war memorial to be positioned in Martin Place, where historical gatherings concerning Australian war efforts have been typically held, for example recruitment drives and victory day celebrations. It is also rare as a memorial which was commissioned by the State Government rather than by a local community. Along with the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park, the Cenotaph is widely regarded as a principal monument in NSW to the servicemen and women who died on active service in war.
The place is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of cultural or natural places/environments in New South Wales.
The Cenotaph is of State significance for its representative role as one of the most prominent war memorials in NSW. The Cenotaph occupies a mid-way position between major State monuments (such as the Anzac Memorial in Sydney's Hyde Park or the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne) and the innumerable small town memorials erected by local communities across Australia. Unlike them, it does not commemorate the death of specific individuals but memorializes the sacrifices made by all who served.
Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served". Observed on 25 April each year, Anzac Day was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in the Gallipoli Campaign, their first engagement in the Great War (1914–1918).
Moruya is a town in New South Wales, Australia, situated on the Moruya River, on the far south coast situated on the Princes Highway 305 kilometres (190 mi) south of Sydney and 175 kilometres (109 mi) from Canberra. At the 2016 census, Moruya had a population of 3982. Its built up area had a population of 2,525. The town relies predominantly on agriculture, aquaculture, and tourism. Moruya is administered by the Eurobodalla Shire council and the shire chambers are located in the town.
The Australian War Memorial is Australia's national memorial to the members of its armed forces and supporting organisations who have died or participated in wars involving the Commonwealth of Australia, and some conflicts involving personnel from the Australian colonies prior to Federation. The memorial includes an extensive national military museum. The Australian War Memorial was opened in 1941, and is widely regarded as one of the most significant memorials of its type in the world.
The Waverley Cemetery is an heritage-listed cemetery on top of the cliffs at Bronte in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Opened in 1877 and built by R. Watkins and P. Beddie, the cemetery is noted for its largely intact Victorian and Edwardian monuments. It is regularly cited as being one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world. The cemetery contains the graves of many significant Australians including the poet Henry Lawson. It is also known as Waverley Cemetery and General Cemetery Waverley. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 28 October 2016.
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