The Vestibule

The main entrance to the Memorial’s ground floor is on the western side, facing Elizabeth Street. The Vestibule is lined in Ulam white marble and shows Dellit’s reinterpretation of classical themes in Art Deco language. Vertical bands of moulded blades form the underside of squared openings around the internal perimeter of the Vestibule.

Two recessed timber cabinets of silky oak with obscured glass doors are recessed into opposite walls for equipment and storage. In the centre of the Vestibule’s coffered ceilings are large brass lights in the form of stars, also designed by Dellit. The coffered ceilings are the moulded undersides of the podium level concrete floor slabs and are finished with a hard plaster skim coat.

At the edge of the Vestibule is the entrance to the Hall of Silence. In the black slate of the entrance threshold are inlaid brass words, “LET SILENT CONTEMPLATION BE YOUR OFFERING”; this has been described as “the central motif of the Memorial’s conception”.

 

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