Anzac Square restoration and enhancement

The 85 year old Anzac Square memorial has been restored. Work of this nature is not uncommon in buildings/structures of its era. Water infiltration into the concrete and stone damaged the rooms and galleries below. If not addressed this damage threatened the future of this unique and much loved state memorial, which is dedicated to those who have served Australia during conflict and peace.

The project (a joint initiative between the Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council) has seen works undertaken to restore and protect the Anzac Square memorial. Stage 3 works involved respectful enhancements that provide people with an opportunity to learn about Queensland's military history.

Summary

Address Between Ann Street and Adelaide Street, Brisbane City
Ward Central Ward
Project outcome To solve water penetration problems and implement respectful enhancements to ensure Anzac Square continues to serve as a reminder of the service and sacrifice of all servicemen and women.
Project benefits The works will:
  • solve the water penetration problems
  • ensure Anzac Square continues to serve as a reminder of the service and sacrifice of all servicemen and women
  • create a more inviting space in the rooms and galleries below the memorial
  • improve accessibility for all users.
Latest update - Undercroft open The newly refurbished undercroft areas are open to the public.

Opening hours are Monday-Friday between 10am and 4pm.

About the project

The Anzac Square restoration and enhancement is being undertaken in stages. 

Stage 1 and 2

Stages 1 and 2 of the project have been completed.

Stage 3

Stage 3 of the project was completed in April 2016.

This stage of works refurbished and enhanced the heritage spaces, including the Shrine of Memories and Memorial Crypt. The former headquarters of RSL Queensland Branch is proposed to be transformed into an Exhibition Gallery and will house all post Second World War plaques. The historic 19th-century Ann Street wall uncovered during Stage 2 work will also be showcased.

Download map showing areas for memorials and plaques (PDF - 503kb).

Stage 3 works involved:

  • refurbishing the Memorial Crypt with new flooring, lighting, painting and plastering work
  • curating all memorial plaques
  • refurbishing the Shrine of Memories to accommodate Second World War plaques and retaining the mosaic mural
  • providing services for future installations such as video and interactive screens for the Post-Second World War Memorial & Exhibition Gallery
  • installing service infrastructure (power, data, communications, audiovisual, security, mechanical) throughout all undercroft rooms
  • installing new toilet and staff facilities
  • improving connectivity to both parts of the undercroft via the pedestrian tunnel
  • providing new ramp access both parts of the undercroft.

Curation of plaques

The project partners have recognised the importance of all memorials and plaques at Anzac Square. Plaque curation will provide an opportunity for all visitors to Anzac Square to gain a richer understanding of the sacrifices they represent and the history behind each one. The plaques are to be placed in a clear and organised manner, within dedicated rooms that correspond to the following periods of time which they reflect:

An independent historian was engaged to research the history of Anzac Square and the stories behind the plaques housed in the memorial spaces. Following this research the project partners, in consultation with former senior Navy, Army, and Air Force personnel, categorised all plaques. This categorisation was in-line with the approach used by the Australian War Memorial.

The following principles informed the categorisation and curation of plaques at Anzac Square:

  • plaques at Anzac Square will be retained at Anzac Square
  • all plaques are important and the service men and women they represent will continue to be honoured
  • to create opportunities for the public to better understand the meaning of the plaques and sacrifices they symbolise, previously limited due to the ad hoc order of the old layout
  • to provide capacity for further memorialisation in Anzac Square, with clear policies and guidelines to ensure future placements are relevant, appropriate and coherent.

Activation and further narrative sharing around the plaques will be considered as part of future stages of the Anzac Square restoration and enhancement project. The undercroft will provide a balance between the need for a place for the public to solemnly pay their respects, and creating a space that is engaging and educational for the many visitors to Anzac Square, Queensland’s state memorial. 

Previous works

On two occasions in the last 30 years, the waterproofing membrane beneath the Ann Street pavement has been replaced.

This membrane, supported by a local drainage system, is the only barrier to water penetration into the memorial's structure. The apparent failure of this membrane provided a vital clue to the Anzac Square Committee that problems with the structure of the memorial were deeper and more serious than assessed previously.

Between 2005 and 2007, the Queensland Government also undertook major repairs to the stonework of the memorial and to the glass mosaic tiles surrounding the Eternal Flame.

Between July 2014 and March 2015 significant works were undertaken to stop water infiltration into the sub-structure and walls. The works also addressed issues with the reliability of the Eternal Flame and repaired the memorial's stonework. 

History of Anzac Square

Anzac Square is Queensland's memorial to those Queenslanders who have served their country in conflict and in peace. It has been the site of major commemorations since its opening on Armistice Day (now Remembrance Day) 1930.

It was borne out of the grieving of a society that gave and lost so much in the First World War of 1914-1918. For 15 years the community worked to secure this memorial. It was paid for by donations from ordinary people who were themselves facing difficult times in the years between the First World War and the Great Depression of the 1930s.

More information 

If you would like to provide comments, ask questions or find out more about the Anzac Square restoration and enhancement, you can:

  • phone the project team on 1800 884 681
  • phone Council on 07 3403 8888
  • email the project team
  • write to:
    Anzac Square Restoration and Enhancement Project
    City Projects Office
    Brisbane City Council
    GPO Box 1434
    Brisbane Qld 4001

 Photo gallery

View the Anzac Square restoration photo gallery as a slideshow, or view photos individually in Council's Flickr account.

24 March 2017