How UrbanStone was the perfect choice for Sydney’s Anzac Memorial


Project: Anzac Memorial Centenary

Architect: Johnson Pilton Walker

Photographer: Peter Bennetts

Product: UrbanStone Commercial Natural Stone Australian Series in Desert Brown.

Click here to see view our Natural Stone product range

The original vision for Sydney’s Anzac Memorial was finally realised last year with the completion of a stunning water cascade – and UrbanStone played a heroic part.

One of the first things that visitors to Sydney’s refurbished Anzac Memorial notice is the magnificent water cascade flanking the building’s southern side.

The stunning water feature is crafted from distinctive hardwearing granite from Esperance in West Australia, supplied by UrbanStone.

Project architect Matteo Salval chose Desert Stone, a natural granite from UrbanStone, which matches the original material, terana granite, used when the Anzac Memorial was built in 1934, but is no longer available.

According to Salval, the $39 million refurbishment, completed in November 2018, realises the original design envisaged by the precinct’s first architect Bruce Dellit, but never brought to fruition because of funding problems during the Great Depression. “In the original concept, the water cascade provides a podium from which the memorial emerges and that is exactly what we have right now,” he said.

Today’s water feature consists of a series of tiered ponds arranged in two parallel lines and leading meditatively down to Liverpool Street; the elegant design was inspired by a watercolour painting in the state archives.

Today’s water feature is based on a watercolour painting in the State Archives which showed four cascading plateaus and a round water feature with a spout.

Glen Le Febvre, NSW sales manager for UrbanStone, is delighted with how the water feature looks and says it was exciting to work on such a significant project.

“We’ve worked on countless projects, including streetscapes, malls and public spaces such as the North Sydney CBD,” he says. “But this is a real showcase.”

Desert Stone is part of the UrbanStone range of Natural Stone products sourced from quarries in South Australia and Western Australia. Urbanstone also makes engineered stone pavers, kerbs, bollards and cobbletops.

The six options in UrbanStone’s Australian Series come in a range of great colours and textures – from Balmoral Green to Austral Black. The Engineered Series features natural Australian stone combined with a high-strength concrete matrix.

“For the Anzac Memorial, we used real West Australian granite,” says Le Febvre.

“It’s totally natural. All that we do is exfoliate the stone and cut it to size. For the actual water feature, we needed to create special fluted pieces which were custom designed.”

UrbanStone uses the exfoliation process to make the stone less slippery in high-traffic areas such as walkways.

Trustees of Anzac Memorial are delighted with the final result, particularly because the water feature complements the refurbished memorial building itself.

“The stone conveys a sense of grounding and solidity, both in its cladding application and in the stone pieces used to create the cascade step,” they write.

“When water runs over the stone’s serrated edges, the crafted nature of these elements is revealed.”

In addition to the water feature, the historic complex now features a Hall of Service and educational facilities to explain the story of the Great War to young Australians. The Hall of Service contains soil samples taken from 1,701 locations from where men enlisted voluntarily.

“I am very, very confident that the architect’s original intention has well and truly been honoured,” David Elliott, Minister for Veterans' Affairs, said in 2018.

The Anzac Memorial, located in Hyde Park in Sydney’s CBD, is open daily, except Good Friday and Christmas Day.

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