1 National Workers Memorial

2 National Workers Memorial

3 National Workers Memorial

4 National Workers Memorial

National Workers Memorial

“We can’t undo what has been done but we can prevent it from happening again” Widow, Krystal Ross

The proposed National Workers’ Memorial submission is a design that integrates landscape, sculpture, signage and planting to create a significant place of commemoration as well as a unique place for the everyday enjoyment of users of Kings Park. The form of the overall design is reminiscent of a small quarry with a switch back climb from a protected grove of trees to an upper grassed plateau. Two contrasting spaces are offered by the scheme; an intimate ‘grove’ shaded in summer and sheltered from westerly winter wind , and a ‘plateau’ elevated to enhance appreciation of the magnificent views out across Lake Burley Griffin. An experience can be had here at this memorial that bridges the personal and reflective with the wider social and environmental setting.

Ceremonies can be held in either the ‘grove’ or ‘plateau’ depending on numbers of attendees and weather conditions. A grassed batter rises from the existing topography to create the plateau, a welcoming space for picnics, Carillon concerts and the watching of fireworks. A dominant blade of weathered steel marks the formal entry into the site. In the ‘grove’, exotic small trees Pyrus calleryana- Callery Pear ‘Bradford’, have been selected for form, seasonal colour, hardiness and visual links to the southern shore of the lake where a planting of this same Callery Pear variety is established. The trees have a symbolic function in the memorial design, signifying the time of the annual April commemoration with turn in colour.

The bronze chain links are a sculptural element with commemorative function as well as an educational purpose. Universally used across time and industries, chain links are a symbol relevant to Australia’s convict past, industrial revolution and contemporary industries. The scale is not overwhelming but does have a significant presence evocative of heavy machinery used in; mining, construction, forestry, freight, shipping and agriculture.

Many links connect together to make a chain length. When held in tension it is effective and strong but when a link is broken so to is the chain. Family members, friends and colleagues must deal with their grief and adapt to devastating change with the loss of an individual. The proposed chain link sculptures are composed in sections of what might be broken chain and yet those pieces that are here at the memorial support one another in their state of mourning and remembrance. Hopefully people will relate to the physical relationships of the inanimate forms, evoking metaphysical and emotional relationships in their own lives. Embedded in the landscape they are a timeless reminder of loss and respect, and of the ‘ripple effect’ of work place fatality. Wreaths and other commemorative objects are to be laid at the base of these sculptures.


Budget Estimate:

Structural Advice:


Kings Park, Parliamentary Triangle, Canberra
Competition 2011

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