Buttress sculptures

Rayner Hoff's sixteen seated figures, which represent the various units of the AIF, are positioned at the top of the Memorial building's buttresses. These statues hold the equipment and weaponry relevant to their roles and demonstrate the skills and expertise demonstrated by Australians during the Great War. The figures make the building's purpose very clear.

They were made in Hoff’s studio. He would model a clay figure to a third or half life-size and then it would be enlarged, exactly to scale, by his assistants with the aid of a pointing machine. A plaster cast was then made in segments under John Moorfield’s supervision and the clay removed from the inside. Thomas Grounds and Sons, a Newtown-based family business, then cast the figures in synthetic stone using a white cement, very fine- grained sand and a pinch of red oxide (to match the pink granite cladding of the building).

On this day

On this day
16 February

1942— BANKA ISLAND MASSACRE. Following the sinking of the SS Vyner Brook, many of the survivors, including 22 Australian nurses, reached the shore of Banka Island. Realising that their position was desperate, an officer from the ship set out with most of the women and children to surrender the group to the Japanese. The officer returned with 20 Japanese soldiers who ordered all the men capable of walking to move to hidden part of the beach and killed them. They then returned to the beach and ordered the 22 nurses and 1 British civilian woman to walk into the water. They were machine-gunned in the back. All the immobile survivors were then killed. Sister Vivian Bullwinkle pretended to be dead and was the only survivor