National War Memorial Australia, Adelaide

National War Memorial

The National War Memorial is a monument on the north edge of the city centre of Adelaide, South Australia, commemorating those who served in the First World War. Opened in 1931, the memorial is located on the corner of North Terrace and Kintore Avenue, adjacent to the grounds of Government House. Memorial services are held at the site throughout the year, with major services on both Anzac Day (25 April) and Remembrance Day (11 November).

First proposed in 1919, the memorial was funded by the Parliament of South Australia, making it the first Australian state war memorial to be confirmed after the war. The design of the memorial was selected through two architectural competitions. The first competition, in 1924, produced 26 designs—all of which were lost before judging could be completed after fire destroyed the building in which they were housed. A second competition, in 1926, produced 18 entries, out of which the design by the architectural firm Woods, Bagot, Jory & Laybourne-Smith was selected as the winner.

The design—effectively a frame for two scenes depicted through Rayner Hoff's marble reliefs and bronze statues—shows the prelude and the epilogue to war, depicting both the willingness of youth to answer the call of duty and the extent of the sacrifices which they made. In this, the work is not displaying a material victory, but instead a victory of the spirit. At the insistence of W. F. J. McCann, president of the Returned Soldiers' League, bronze tablets were cast to line the walls of an inner shrine, on which are listed the names of all South Australians who died during the Great War.