South of Melbourne city centre, within walking distance of Federation Square and Flinders Street Station, the Shrine of Remembrance honors those Victorians who served in the wars, and those who supported them at home, since World War I.
While this is primarily a memorial to Australia's fighting men, it is perhaps significant that the word "war" is not included in its name — as it is in the national Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Its emphasis is, rather, on "remembrance."
The eternal flame in the Second World War Forecourt, beside the 12.5 metre cenotaph, was lit by Queen Elizabeth II in 1954 and has not been extinguished since. Not only does it symbolise eternal life for those who died but remains a testament to the continuing remembrance of these men and women.
The Shrine of Remembrance was built from 1928 to 1934 to honor Victorians who had served in World War I. Of that war's 114,000 Victorian volunteers, 89,100 served overseas; 19,000 did not return.
World War I ended with the signing of the Armstice on November 11, 1918, and plans to build a memorial to Victoria's fighting men and women took form.
Stone of Remembrance
The Sanctuary, the heart of the Shrine of Remembrance, features the Stone of Remembrance which is symbolic of a gravestone for those buried overseas, thousands of them in unmarked graves. The Stone of Remembrance is inscribed with the words: "Greater love hath no man."
At exactly 11am on Remembrance Day, on the anniversary of the end of World War I, a single ray of light falls directly on the Stone of Remembrance and illuminates the word "love."
The Shrine of Remembrance features various internal and external sections including dedicated courtyards and memorial gardens. Now it honors not only those who served in World War I but includes all Victorians in all wars in which Australia has been involved.
Visiting the Shrine
The Shrine of Remembrance includes a Visitor Centre, completed in 2003, with exhibition walls and a 100-seat auditorium where an introductory video plays every 15 minutes.
The Shrine of Remembrance is open from 10am to 5pm daily except on Good Friday and Christmas Day. Guided tours are available at 11am and 2pm.
Trams on the St Kilda Rd route stop close to the Shrine of Remembrance as does the free City Tourist Shuttle.
For those who wish to go on foot, it's 1.3 kilometres and about a half-hour walk from Flinders Street Station down St Kilda Rd.