In May 2011, the Australian Government announced the development of a National Worker’s Memorial. The winning design, selected by an independent jury from a competitive pool of 26 entries, was announced in Canberra this evening.
“The memorial will honour and pay tribute to all working Australians who have died as a result of work-related accidents, incidents and disease… It will also provide an important focal point for the national commemoration of Workers’ Memorial Day, recognised internationally on 28 April each year.”
He described the memorial as “functional” and
“featuring a series of tall, slender columns representing the contributions and sacrifice of workers from each state and territory in Australia.”
The National Capital Authority (NCA) says this about the design:
“The design titled ‘Workers Glade’ was developed by Sydney based architecture firm, Johnson Pilton Walker.
It features eight slender columns clad in stone unique to the state or territory each represents. Viewed from above, the locations of the columns, laid out like a map of Australia, correspond with the locations of each state’s capital city. The columns provide a place where visitors can leave tokens of remembrance for loved ones.
Concentric rings on the plaza pavement surrounding the columns represent the ‘ripple effect’ a work related death has on family, friends and the local community. The ripples will contain milestones and positive steps taken to improve health and safety outcomes and the prevention of work-related accidents and disease in Australia.”
Other memorials in Australia vary between a rock in Victoria, a sculpture in New South Wales and gardens in Tasmania and South Australia. The above design is a bit of both. One of the downsides of an inner suburban memorial is that often they are on noisy traffic intersections where reflection is difficult and any commemoration creates traffic hazards. Gardens can be quite useful, particularly if people are able to plant their own memorial trees, but as is possible with the Princess of Wales Memorial Walk in Hyde Park in London, one can be in a memorial and not realise it.
The “Workers’s Glade” is reminiscent of the New Zealand war memorial in London with its poles and space, although the war memorial is easy to pass on the bus or as a pedestrian.
The symbolism of the ripples is clear but how does one depict the “positive steps” to prevent harm? Not sure about that one.
It is understood that by having the national memorial administered by the National Capital Authority, the memorial is appropriately maintained and becomes part of the list of many other memorials in Canberra.
The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) has provided $3 million for the construction of the memorial.
NCA advises that a public dedication of the memorial is anticipated in April 2013. April 28 would be a good guess.