The C.E.W. Bean Foundation, in cooperation with the Australian War Memorial, has completed a permanent reminder in the War Memorial precinct of the sacrifices of those who have entered war zones to record and interpret the Australian experience of war and peacekeeping operations. The War Correspondents Memorial project was completed and dedicated on 23 September 2015 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, by the then Prime Minister, Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP. The Fifth Anniversary of its commemoration is coming up on 23 September 2020.
The Honour Roll on this website lists correspondents injured and killed in action.
In 2001 Phillip Knightley delivered this testimonial as the Telstra Address at the National Press Club:
“…The CEW Bean Foundation will show Australians the important role journalists, photographers, war artists and camera crews have played in portraying the nation at war including of course CEW Bean himself, without whose efforts the achievements of the Anzacs, especially those under that brilliant General Monash on the Western Front in the last desperate days of WW1, would not be known…
The tasks the Foundation wants to undertake are heavy ones. It wants to honour Australia’s past war correspondents, to record their achievements, to make their work more readily available both to the public and to those who might want to follow in their footsteps. It wants to provide a source of expertise and advice that could help make the reporting of wars as safe as is possible, while recognising that war cannot be entirely without risk….
Just as Australia leads the world in so many other fields, I believe that it could achieve what other democracies have failed to do – develop a working relationship between the military and the media that would be satisfactory to both and as well in the interests of the nation as a whole…”
The War Correspondents Memorial
The War Correspondents Memorial is a place for reflection and contemplation of the sacrifices made by those who brought back the stories of conflicts around the globe, including those who made the ultimate sacrifice in gathering our news and information.
From the initial concepts, through comprehensive planning, painstaking design, detailed stakeholder consultation, patient fundraising and constant communication, the War Correspondents Memorial came to fruition. Dedicated on 23 September 2015, 100 years to the day since the Murdoch Letter of 23 September 1915, the War Correspondents Memorial is an essential addition to any visit to Canberra and the Australian War Memorial.
Description of the War Correspondents Memorial
From the official description in the Australian War Memorial: (source https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/ART96849)
The War Correspondents Memorial honours the journalists, photographers, film and sound crews, writers and artists who have travelled to war zones to record the horrors of battle and the Australian experience of war. It was created by architects Johnson Pilton Walker (JPW). The key element to JPW’s design is a large and highly polished granite oculus that evokes a camera lens or a human eye, and is suggestive of the act of observing or bearing witness to an event. The oculus is 2.4 metres in diameter, with a single line of commemorative text engraved around the circumference, and is set within a landscaped setting, including pavers. The curved granite form is shaped to collect and reflect the distant images of the Hall of Memory dome, individual memorials, as well as the surrounding trees and sky. A low semi-circular retaining wall differentiates the site from the surrounding sloping grounds and provides seating. A series of grass mounds suggesting ripples radiate out from the paved space and symbolically evoke the transmission of ideas, or sound waves, and helps mark out the memorial to passing visitors.
The following words are inscribed on the oculus:
AMID DANGERS KNOWN AND UNKNOWN WAR CORRESPONDENTS REPORT WHAT THEY SEE AND HEAR. THOSE WORDS AND IMAGES LIVE BEYOND THE MOMENT AND BECOME PART OF THE HISTORY OF AUSTRALIA.
Building the War Correspondents Memorial
In addition to raising funds, working towards numerous approvals and providing strategic guidance, building the War Correspondents Memorial involved extensive stakeholder consultation.
Chief amongst our partners included the Australian War Memorial, on whose grounds the War Correspondents Memorial is located, and design partners Johnson Pilton Walker (JPW). JPW coordinated design and construction arrangements, with significant inputs from our Foundation.
Stone for the granite Oculus was selected from the Black Hills quarry near to Mannum, in South Australia, source of some of the world’s best monumental black granite. Once quarried in May 2015, Stonemasons from Adelaide prepared the granite for transport to Sydney, where it was further cut, shaped, polished and prepared with rigorous quality controls from the Foundation, the AWM and JPW. As the Oculus approached completion in Sydney, construction works began on site in Canberra into 2015 involving sod turning, foundation preparations, pouring the concrete base, installing sandstone coping from the Wondabyne quarry in NSW, and earthworks to landscape the “ripple effect” ahead of final turfing. A selection of images from the design and construction process are shown here.