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Perth, Scotland, United Kingdom
November 12, 2010
From journal Mellow Melbourne
September 27, 2002
Today I am alone in Melbourne on business and have looked forward to attending these services in a different city. I can hear the rain heavily falling outside and it seems to be the tears of millions falling in sorrow and sadness for the cruelty and harshness of our world. Undeterred I make my way downstairs to take a taxi to the shrine expecting a few hundred people with such inclement weather-there were thousands.
As I approached the hill in the dark the rain poured down and then I stopped as a lone bugler on the ramparts played Reveille as a glimmer of dawn showed. There was a very moving service and as always Laurece Binyons For the Fallen was read. Then as is tradition the Last Post was played and the service over with hardly a dry eye.It was extraordinarily emotional as always.For the next two hours thousands of us queued in the torrential rain to file through the Shrine to placa a poppy in the shrine as a symbol of commemoration.
People of all ages were there and service people from all of the wars since WW1 including WW2, Korea and Vietnam proudly weraing their medal and braving the weather ready for a chat with anyone. Telling yarns, jokes, singing songs.
After I left the Shrine I walked along the paths and read the commemorative plaques remembering our heroes. Across the road at the Victoria Barracks, hot breakfasts, tea and coffee and anzac biscuits were being serviced. An Anzac biscuit is 4 oz butter, 4 oz sugar, tsp baking soda, tablespoon of golden syrup warmed together to which you add 1 cup each of flour, coconut and rolled oats. Spoon on to biscuit (cookie) trays and bake for around 10 minutes till golden at 150degrees.
The Dawn Service is followed by an Anzac Day March where all of the veterans and families representing those lost march with their battalions and bands through the city to the shrine for another service. Tens of thousands line the streets for this wearing poppies or a sprig of rosemary as a mark of respect and waving flags.
From journal Exploring Melbourne
New Delhi, India
September 3, 2002
To get to the Shrine, you walk up the broad paved pathway of Anzac Avenue ; at the end of it is a flight of broad stone steps. Climb up it, and you’ll enter the main hall, its walls decorated with beautifully carved stone friezes depicting scenes of battle. All around the periphery of the main hall are Ionic columns of black marble- very old marble at that, with fossils imbedded in places.
The focal point of the Shrine is the Stone of Remembrance - a polished slab in the centre of the hall on which are inscribed the words "Greater love hath no man". Above the Stone is a carefully-positioned aperture in the roof of the hall, through which a single ray of light shines, only on November 11, at 11am every year, to light up the word `love’ in the verse engraved below. November 11, for those who missed the significance, is the anniversary of the Armistice; the complete verse reads: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13) .
It does give you gooseflesh, even if you aren’t Aussie; and for the benefit of tourists who can’t make it on November 11, a ray of artificial light does a dry run every day at 11 am.
The Shrine’s open every day of the year (except on Good Friday and Christmas) from 10 am to 5 pm.
From journal A City of Gardens: Melbourne
July 5, 2002
The exterior design is a curious combination of elements. It can be described as an Aztec pyramid resting over a cube with classical Greco-Roman pediment facades. The dry design of the interior has classical columns and its dim lighting brings on a somber, respectful mood inside. At 11AM on November 11 (Remembrance Day), a ceremonial "Ray of Light" shines through an opening in the pyramid and dramatically beams into the interior. Displays include old flags and momentos, listings of Australians killed in action, and fascinating historical photographs. After reviewing the exhibits, climb the stairs to the upper level and step outside for some breezy panoramic views of Melbourne. Even if you are not big on Australian history, it is worthwhile to climb up and check out the vistas.
There is no admission fee to visit the Shrine of Remembrance, but there is a donation box near the main entrance. The Shrine is near prominent Melbourne institutions like the National Botanic Gardens, Government House, Governor LaTrobe's Cottage, the convoluted park layout of the Kings Domain, and the modern Sidney Myer Music Bowl.
From journal Bill in Australia - MELBOURNE