THE curved stone memorial features the names of 24,000 towns which were home to the 101,000 Australian men and women who died during World War I and World War II.
The $9 million memorial was opened in a Remembrance Day celebration in 2003, with the then Prime Minister John Howard, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Queen in attendance for the event.
Extensive repair work, involving the repainting of each town’s name, will begin 10 days after the memorial hosts the annual Anzac Day dawn service. The work is expected to take about 14 weeks.
Veterans’ Affairs Minister Alan Griffin said given the memorial’s complex structure it would require ongoing maintenance in the future.
“This makes it clear that when you do memorials you need to take your time about ensuring you get it right and have a practical understanding about what you are seeking to achieve,” Griffin told AAP.
“I think there were mistakes made with this memorial and we need to make sure these repairs are done properly.”
The repairs are part of a general refurbishment of the memorial which includes a hi-tech update with an interactive display that provides immediate information on diggers who served in Europe during the two world wars.
The touch-screen display was unveiled by Veterans’ Affairs Minister Alan Griffin on 21 April 2009, making the Australian War Memorial the first traditional Australian war memorial to feature an interactive display.
“This interactive display is a great way for visitors – and those at home through the internet – to learn about and understand the significance of the memorial and the chapter in Australia’s wartime history it honours,” said Griffin.