Raising the Funds


On 25 April 1916, the first anniversary of the Anzac landing on the Gallipoli peninsula, spontaneous commemorative services were held by Australians at home and abroad. The commemorative services led to discussions of permanent memorials to those who served and particularly those who died in the war. To finance the construction of these memorials trust funds were created. By the end of the Great War (1914 – 18) the people of New South Wales had donated £60,000 to be dedicated to the construction of a state war memorial. Fundraising by veterans organisations, groups of war widows and soldier's mothers and other community groups continued through the 1920s.

With the financial collapse brought about by the Great Depression the flow of money to support the construction of the memorial slowed to a trickle. In 1933 an ingenious incentive to encourage donations was incorporated into the design of the Anzac Memorial. The design feature was the dome of stars on the ceiling of the Hall of Memory. “To cover the short fall in funding the RSSILA (the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia, today the RSL) offered golden stars for sale at two shillings (2/-) each. Although the full number of available stars was not sold, 120,000 were attached to the ceiling to represent all of the state’s volunteers in the conflict.”  [1]

2/- was a substantial portion of a days pay in 1933. Despite the cost large number of stars were sold and the concept added vital funds for the construction of the memorial.

The funding for the construction of the Anzac Memorial was also supplemented by unemployment relief funds which allowed for the building of the Pool of Reflection.


[1] Government Architect’s CMP 2007

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