Shrine of Remembrance (24.03.2014)

Written on the 2 April 2014

Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) -- My question is to Mr Drum, the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, and I ask: can the minister update the house on progress on the Galleries of Remembrance program?



Hon. D. K. DRUM (Minister for Veterans' Affairs) -- I thank Ms Crozier for her question.

This is an amazing project that all Victorians will be justly proud of. As the minister, I was lucky enough to visit the shrine last week to meet Chris Spence, who is heading up the council there for us. I also met with the builders who took me through the construction site to look at the progress of this particular project.

It is worth remembering that when the shrine was built Australians were not used to being able to travel.

After the First World War and the Second World War it was not easy for most grieving families to simply jump on a plane and visit the gravesites of the fallen and the lost -- their loved ones. The shrine was built to give all those grieving families one enormous memorial. However, over time the shrine has aged; therefore the coalition government has set about creating the Galleries of Remembrance, a significant project that is going to show the entire history of the conflicts this country has endured, starting from before the Boer War and covering the First World War, the Second World War, the wars in Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam, moving onto Afghanistan and Iraq, and finishing with a peace gallery.

Space will be made available for an exhibition showing the Devanha, which is a 9-metre-long troop-carrying boat. That is going to find its way into the undercroft of the shrine, and it will be the centrepiece of what is going to be an amazing project.

We are expecting hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren to visit the shrine every year as part of an educational program. There will be break-out rooms and rooms in which schoolchildren will be able to go online and do further studies. Already the shrine is the third most common tourist attraction in this great city.

We look forward to the project being completed later this year. We think it is going to add much to the whole experience, not just for the returned service men and women but also as a major tourist attraction. People will come to the shrine and experience this amazing exhibition space and gallery. They will not only get to visit and view the gallery but they will also be able to fully engage in and learn about the history of peace and wartime. They will be able to see exactly how those conflicts took place and how we are now working our way towards a more peaceful society.

This is a great project. The government has invested $22.5 million in it and is very proud of it. We hope it will be finished later this year.


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