The shrine is in remembrance of those who served and those who died in the Great War of 1914-1918 and armed conflicts and peacekeeping duties since.
Visitor Services include:
Guided tours at 11am and 2pm daily, leaving from the Visitor Centre.
Services of Remembrance (featuring the Ray of Light) are held every half hour staring at 10:30am in the Sanctuary.
Introductory audio visual showing in the Visitor Centre every 15 minutes.
Self-guided children's tour - collect at the retail shop.
Two interactive touch screen kiosks for researching war records.
Custodians and Volunteer Guides are available during opening hours to assist visitors.
Toilets, souvenir shop and disabled access via Birdwood Avenue and the Visitor Centre entrance.
There are several Cafes nearby.
Open from 10am - 5pm daily
Closed only on Christmas Day and Good Friday.
Admission is free, however, the Shrine welcomes donations.
A visit to the shrine is a touching experience which the whole family can be deeply involved in. If you come from the city (which is a short walk away) you will pass the statue of Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop (1907-1993) and a monument to fallen comrades in South Africa, 1901-2.
There are impressive views of the shrine as you approach along the northern forecourt and reach the Cenotaph and Eternal Flame which was lit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the dedication ceremony in 1954. The Cenotaph is 12.5 high and the sculpture on top shows six large stone figures bearing their fallen comrade on a stretcher. The Army, Navy and Air Force are each represented by two stretcher bearers. Can you see all the theatres of war where each of the services fought in the Second World War which are inscribed on the pillar? Three flagpoles in the forecourt fly the Australian flag; the Victorian State flag and flags of the services in rotation. Look out for the inscriptions in the forecourt area, "Let all men know that this is holy ground" and "We will remember them".
You can enter the shrine by climbing the steps and passing through the porticos or via the Visitor's Centre in the north-east corner.
The steps lead to the Sanctuary where sunk into the centre of the floor, like a grave, is the Stone of Remembrance which is a reminder of the sacrifice made by Victorian service men and women and has the inscription "Greater Love Hath No Man". A ray of natural sunlight passes through an aperture in the ceiling of the Sanctuary and falls onto the Stone of Remembrance over the word “love” at precisely 11.00 am on 11 November each year. This is the moment when the armistice was signed in 1918 marking the end of hostilities in the First World War. You can also experience this moment because the ceremony is reproduced every half hour using electric light (starting from 10:30 am).
Around the four sides of the central Sanctuary is the Ambulatory which are aisles containing the Books of Remembrance, National flags and ensigns. The Books of Remembrance preserve the names of the 89,000 Victorians who were born or enlisted in Victoria and who served abroad in the First World War, or who died in camp prior to embarkation.
You can take steps up to the outdoor Balcony which has great views of the Shrine memorial parkland and the city of Melbourne in all directions. You get nice views of the sunken courtyards.
Steps lead down to the Crypt from the Sanctuary which is a memorial to the units of the 1st Australian Imperial Force and the Royal Australian Navy and houses Sovereigns’ and Regimental Colours.
There are 13 hectares of memorial parkland around the shrine and there are many memorials to find including Lone Pine (The original Lone Pine stood on a high ridge above Gallipoli, Turkey and became a landmark for the troops fighting in the battle at Gallipoli during the First World War. It was eventually destroyed but a soldier collected and sent home a pine cone from the tree. Seeds from the cone were germinated and eventually a young tree from those seeds was planted at the Shrine of Remembrance), Legacy Garden of Appreciation (centred around poppies and containing the sculpture, Widow and Children), Women's Garden and Memorial Cairn (a garden of concrete memorial ‘violets’), Gallipoli Memorial, sculptures Driver and Wipers, Purple Cross Horse Trough (which recognises the services and suffering of animals in war) and Cobbers sculpture (a memorial to Australian service and sacrifice at the Battle of Fromelles).
There are also a number of sunken Courtyards to visit including one with a magnificent red poppy theme.
The Galleries of Remembrance is housed beneath the Shrine and has over 850 objects in permanent and temporary exhibition spaces which illustrate the experiences of Australians at war and in peacekeeping operations. You can wander around and read about the experiences of war via displays of small objects, audio-visual displays and interactive displays.
There are guided tours at set times and even special self-guided tours for children.
A visit to the Shrine is an experience that all Victorian families and visitors should do. Those commemorated at the shrine fought, and in may cases lost their lives, for us. They deserve our greatest respect and gratitude.