The Hall of Silence
Let silent contemplation be your offering

The Hall of Silence, located in the centre of the building, is striking in its starkness, and has a powerful effect on visitors.

The room is circular and Rayner Hoff's sculpture Sacrifice stands in its centre. The floor is Ulam white marble, and there is a bronze “eternal flame” that flares out from the sculpture. The ceiling curves up toward the carved marble banister that defines the Well of Contemplation, a large circular opening in the floor of the level above. This opening provides the only natural lighting for the Hall of Silence and has the effect of focusing that light onto the central sculpture. The cornice is a marble frieze in which are carved the names of the great battles fought by Australians forces during the war. According to Dellit, the names “complete the message which the group of sculpture symbolising Sacrifice is intended to deliver”

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