The Joy of Museums

Finding Beauty & Meaning in Museums

External Architecture & Design of the Shrine

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The external design of the Shrine of Remembrance is based on the Parthenon in Athens and the Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus, one of the Ancient Seven Wonders of the World.

It is a square plan structure, roofed with a stepped pyramid and with entrances on the north and south through classical porticos, each of eight fluted Doric columns supporting a pediment containing sculpture in high relief. The porticos are approached by wide flights of steps.

The northern pediment sculptures represents The Call to Arms. A winged goddess, symbolic of the Mother Country, calls her dominions to defend her. Young warriors on either side respond to the appeal and are seen kneeling at her side.

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Behind the warrior on the right, is a poet symbolising the songs of battle, while behind him are the dogs of war straining against their leash. On the other side, a mother gathers her children and an old man looks after the safety of the flock.

The southern pediment sculptures depicts The Homecoming and peace. In the centre is Youth plucking the fruits of the earth and being drawn by Neptune’s horses. On the right is a potter representing industry and the group further right representing agriculture. On the left we have education, with an old man teaching and further left are the symbols of the arts and science.

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The east and west fronts have large inscriptions plus statuary representing Peace, Justice, Patriotism and Sacrifice. The inscription on east wall is:

“This monument was erected by a grateful people to the honoured memory of the Men and Women of Victoria who served the Empire in the Great War of 1914 – 1918”

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The inscription on the west wall is:

“Let all Men know that this is Holy Ground. This Shrine established in the hearts of Men as on the solid Earth commemorates a People’s fortitude and sacrifice. Ye therefore that come after give Remembrance.”

The style and motifs draw on Greek sculpture and the symbolism is Neo-Classical.


Essential Facts:

  • Title:                         Shrine of Remembrance
  • Unveiled:                 1934
  • City:                          Melbourne, Australia
  • Materials:                Granodiorite, sandstone & marble


“As a leader you must celebrate life, you must celebrate success and paradoxically, you must celebrate heroic failures.” Lieutenant General D.M. Mueller



Photo Credit: 1) By GordonMakryllos (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons 2) By GordonMakryllos (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons 3)