It is a site of annual observances of ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day and is one of the largest war memorials in Australia. The crowning element at the top of the memorials ziggurat roof references the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, built from Tynong granite, the Shrine originally consisted only of the central sanctuary surrounded by the ambulatory. The sanctuary contains the marble Stone of Remembrance, upon which is engraved the words Greater love hath no man. Once a year, on 11 November at 11 a. m. a ray of sunlight shines through an aperture in the roof to light up the word Love in the inscription. Beneath the sanctuary lies the crypt, which contains a statue of a soldier father and son. The Shrine went through a process of development which began in 1918 with the initial proposal to build a Victorian memorial. Two committees were formed, the second of which ran a competition for the memorials design, the winner was announced in 1922. In response, General Sir John Monash used the 1927 ANZAC Day march to support for the Shrine. The foundation stone was laid on 11 November 1927, and the Shrine was officially dedicated on 11 November 1934, a war memorial in Melbourne was proposed as soon as the war ended in November 1918. In August 1921 an executive committee was formed, with the commander of the Australian forces in the war, General Sir John Monash. The committee soon abandoned the idea of an arch and proposed a large memorial to the east of St Kilda Road. A competition was launched in March 1922 to find a design for the new memorial, a total of 83 entries were submitted, and in December 1923 the design offered by two Melbourne architects, Phillip Hudson and James Wardrop, was announced as the winner. Furthermore, some Christian churches also attacked the design as pagan for having no cross or other Christian element, the new Victorian Labor government of 1924, under George Prendergast, supported the Heralds view, and pushed for a memorial hospital instead of the Shrine. As a result of the debate, significant delays postponed the construction of the new memorial, nevertheless, both Monash and Legacy still supported the Shrine. In 1927, with the then Duke of York, Prince Albert, visiting the country, Monash spoke on the eve of ANZAC day at the RSL dinner, arguing for the Shrine. The audience had been seeded with supporters, who provided a standing ovation at the conclusion of his speech, when a vote was called for, the majority voted in favour of the Shrine proposal. The next day, with Monash leading 30,000 veterans in the 1927 ANZAC Day march, and with the new support of the RSL, The Age, and the Argus, the Shrine proposal had gained new momentum. Faced with such support, and with Monashs arguments that the ANZAC Square would be prohibitively expensive and this proposal received considerable debate, and was countered by the argument that the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey represented all of the dead of the British Empire
Shrine of Remembrance
Ceremonial Avenue, looking towards the city of Melbourne from the shrine
The dedication ceremony for the Shrine of Remembrance. Over 300,000 people were in attendance, approximately a third of Melbourne's population at the time.
The Shrine in the 1930s showing the reflecting pool in front of the north face, where the World War II Forecourt is now located