On 25 April 1916, the first anniversary of the landing of the Australian Imperial Forces at ANZAC Cove, a fund was opened to raise money to erect a permanent Memorial. By the end of the war the fund had reached £60,000. There was, however, disagreement about both the form and the location of the Memorial. (1) Trustees appointed under the Anzac Memorial (Building) Act 1923
The Anzac Memorial (Building) Act, 1923 (Act No.27, 1923) received assent on 12 December 1923. The Act originally charged the Trustees with responsibility for the completion, management, maintenance and preservation of the ANZAC Memorial Building, as the principal State War Memorial, and for the care, management, maintenance and improvement of the site it occupies. The focus (as at 2005) was on management, maintenance and preservation while enhancing the education role through an exhibition and education program.
The general control and management of the use of the Anzac Memorial and its site was also the responsibility of the Trustees. In August 1996, the Trustees and The Returned and Services League (New South Wales Branch) entered into a Service Agreement which formally appointed the RSL as manager of the day to day administration, control and responsibility of the Memorial.
The Act conferred upon the Trustees exclusive rights to authorise the manufacture, printing, publishing and sale of replicas, photographs, video, digital images, booklets, pamphlets and other like material.
The ANZAC Memorial (Building) Act 1923, as amended, appointed the holders of the following offices as Trustees of the ANZAC Memorial Building:
- The Premier of the State
- The Leader of the Opposition
- The Lord Mayor of Sydney
- The Public Trustee
- The President of the Returned and Services League of Australia (New South Wales Branch)
- The President of the T.B. Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen's Association of NSW (Inc).
Former Trustees included:
- The Director of the Commonwealth Savings Bank
- The President of the Limbless Association of NSW
In December 1923 the ANZAC Memorial (Building) Act was passed and the decision was taken to erect the Memorial in Hyde Park. However, there was no further action until after the Cenotaph had been erected in Martin Place.
Parliament sanctioned the erection of the Memorial on its present site in 1929. A competition was held for the design of the Memorial and 117 entries were received from all over the world. On 9 July 1930 first prize was awarded to Mr C. Bruce Dellit and tenders were called in November 1931 Kell and Rigby Pty Ltd were the successful building contractors.
The foundation stones were laid on 19 July 1932. The building was completed in 1934. Elements of the original design had to be deleted because of their cost, but the Pool of Reflection was built when the Council of the City of Sydney was granted unemployment relief funds for the purpose.
The Memorial was officially opened by His Royal Highness, the Duke of Gloucester on 24 November 1934. (2)
The Memorial's mission statement was:
• to maintain and conserve the ANZAC Memorial as the principal State War Memorial in New South Wales
• to preserve the memory of those who have served in war
• to collect, preserve, display and research military historical material and information relating to the New South Wales citizens who served their country in war or in peace keeping activities.
The Memorial's objectives were:
• to provide a venue as the principal State War Memorial for the Remembrance of the Fallen
• to educate younger generations as to the sacrifices made during times of conflict
• to provide a source of information for the research of family history in relation to military service
• to stimulate the involvement of the community and the Defence Forces in the preservation of the service heritage of New South Wales citizens
• to provide a repository for suitable material and personal memorabilia from New South Wales citizens in accordance with the acquisition policy of the Memorial
• to display on behalf of other agencies, items consistent with the role of the Memorial. (3)
In 1984, following a proposal by the Trustees, the ANZAC Memorial (Building) Act was amended to enable the Memorial to be rededicated as a memorial to all Australians who serve their country in war. On 30 November 1984, the year of the Memorial's fiftieth anniversary, the Governor of New South Wales, His Excellency Sir James Anthony Rowland, AC, KBE, DFC, AFC, rededicated the ANZAC Memorial and unveiled a plaque. (4)
1) Report of the Trustees of the ANZAC Memorial Building for the year ended 31 December 2005, p.1 from Anzac Memorial website http://www.dpc.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/14156/2005_ANZAC_Memorial_Annual_Report.pdf
(cited 19 December 2007).
(2) Ibid., p.1.
(3) Ibid., p.4.
(4) Ibid., p.3.