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ANZAC Day and the South Australian Governor General's New Fence

ANZAC Centenary Memorial
Walk, Adelaide SA.
Australian's love to honour their war heroes and so they should. South Australia is no exception, with memorials to fallen soldiers in almost every town and city. Adelaide even has road bridges named after famous battles from the Vietnam war.

ANZAC Day (April 25th) is the one day where we put all those war memorials to use in memory of all who served from World War I onward with parades and dawn services attended by thousands.

Arguably, ANZAC day is more popular than it ever has been in Australia, with pilgrimages back to Gallipoli in Turkey now a thing that many Australians hope to do at least once. To see and attend services where it all began.


War Memorial,
North Terrace, Adelaide.
The city of Adelaide has a perfectly good war memorial, on North Terrace, where ANZAC day services have been held for years. Typically it's one of the biggest gatherings in the state for dawn services.

Two days prior to ANZAC day a 280 metre Memorial walk consisting of a commemorative wall with depictions of various moments from Australian war history in Black Granite, book ended by black metal fencing with matching planter boxes, benches and lighting was officially opened along Kintore avenue (just behind the existing North Terrace Memorial).

At a cost of 10 million dollars, contributed by the Australian Government' ANZAC Centenary Fund (5 million), the South Australian Government (3 million) and the Adelaide City Council (2 million) it's probably one of the most expensive public fences ever built in South Australia.

What the...?

You see the wall its self runs along the eastern boundary of Government House, which conceded some land in order to make the path wide enough to include the walk way and planter boxes. You can see an animated 3D representation of the walk in the video below.



When I heard about this wall being unveiled I decided to go see for myself what 10 million gets you in the way of a wall. I have to say the above video is a fairly accurate depiction of the completed wall and memorial walk (but with younger trees).

Notice how much of the wall is mainly a metal, open blade fence. (My partner commented "No more nude sun baking for the Governor General!").

Not the best time of day for a photo.
I did take some of my own photos but because I was there in the afternoon the wall was mostly in shade. So instead of seeing the nicely etched artwork, the wall's black granite mostly reflected the buildings on the opposite side of the street.

I'm not intentionally trying to be cynical. Having seen the memorial walk for myself, it is a good use of the space that would otherwise, could only ever be a footpath. It may even become a popular lunch time spot or gathering place with all the seating. It will no doubt hold much significance for past and present service men and women, their families and the general public, particularly on ANZAC and Remembrance day.

I just can't help but think, did we need it enough to spend 10 million dollars of public money when we have so many memorials already, and many other more urgent community needs competing for funding?

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