Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance

Dedicated to the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. This monument was erected to honour those Australian servicemen and women who served during world war one. Here you will find snippets of information not found in any tourist guide book!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Without a shadow of a doubt.

The Shrine of Remembrance

is quite unique in that on the eleventh day of the eleventh month ( Remembrance Day ), at precisely eleven o'clock, a beam of light shines through an aperture in the roof and illuminates the 'Stone of Remembrance'

See previous post:

A few years ago there was an upgrade of the Shrine in that a visitor's centre was constructed. This visitor's centre includes a shop, a media presentation area, a redeveloped undercroft and entrance and garden courtyards.
Not to be outdone, the modern day architects are rumoured to have incorporated another rather unique feature in their design of the 'Garden Courtyard'.

As can be seen in the photograph, there is a zig-zag line of light and dark stone paving with a narrow mid-tone section between them. This zig-zag mirrors the profile of the outer wall.

Rumour has it, ( although I have yet to witness it myself ), that at 11 am on the 11th November the shadow of the wall of the Garden courtyard will line up with the edge of the dark paved area where it meets the mid-tone section. During the minutes silence observed on Remembrance day the shadow will travel from the dark section of paving to the light section. This represents the transition from darkness to light or war to peace.

As far as I am aware this feature is not documented anywhere else other than this blog!!!

Shrine 'Orientation' Day

When the new 'Lone Pine' tree was planted, a new plaque was set into the ground to notify future visitors of it's significance. The gardener chosen to 'plant' the plaque was not your average Einstein!

The story goes that he was being watched as he worked and it was noted that he had dug a square hole to recieve a diamond shaped plaque. ( See picture ).

When asked: "Why have you dug a square hole for a diamond shaped plaque?"

He answered: "I don't know how to dig a diamond shaped hole!"

Obviously he was not the sharpest tool in the shed!!

( For those that have missed the point , a diamond is a square rotated 45 degrees! )

'Lone Pine' no longer 'Lone!'

After the capture of the Lone Pine ridge in Gallipoli (6 August 1915), an Australian Soldier who had taken part in the attack, found a cone on one of the branches used by the Turks as overhead cover for their trenches. He kept it and, after the war, gave it to his aunt, Mrs Emma Gray. From the seed shed by the cone Mrs Gray raised four trees, one of which was presented to the Shrine of Remembrance.

It was planted on the 11th June 1933 and continued to grow to become an enormous 'Lone Pine' memorial tree for Melbourne. It was planted near to the 'Simpson & his Donkey' statue and grew to shade it from the harsh Australian summer sun.

Unfortunately, many years later, time took it's toll, and the 'Lone Pine' tree became a public liability to the Shrine. Growing ever bigger and becoming fragile with old age it started to drop limbs without notice. One limb snapped and fell onto the enlosure of the 'Simpson' statue. The picture speaks for itself! ( The original 'Lone Pine' tree can be seen in the background.)

The force of the impact was enough to bend the enclosure railing which is made of steel!

With the 'Lone Pine's' days numbered it was decided to plant a second generation tree to take over from the first. Therefore, the 'Lone Pine' is no longer 'Lone' and instead, has a younger 'Lone Pine' planted nearby which will continue to grow until it too is in need of replacement! Meanwhile the original 'Lone Pine's' condition will be monitored and when it becomes neccessary it will be removed.