Sydney Cenotaph

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Sydney Cenotaph
CenotaphMartinPlace1 gobeirne.jpg
For the war dead of New South Wales from all conflicts
Unveiled 25 April 1927
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Sydney, Australia
Designed by Sir Bertram Mackennal
"Lest We Forget" & "To Our Glorious Dead"
Detail of the soldier statue, with the General Post Office in the background

The Sydney Cenotaph is located in Martin Place, in Sydney, Australia and is one of the oldest World War I monuments in central Sydney.

The cenotaph takes the form of a monolithic stone block in a sepulchral shape. At its two shorter ends stand two bronze statues, a soldier and a sailor guarding the cenotaph. Words are carved into the longer faces of the cenotaph: on the southern side, facing the General Post Office, the carving reads: "To Our Glorious Dead"; on the northern side, facing Challis House, it reads: "Lest We Forget." Remembrance events are frequently held at the Cenotaph. Most importantly, it is the centre for Sydney's main Anzac and Armistice Day dawn service ceremonies, regularly drawing thousands of attendees.


Martin Place, adjacent to the General Post Office (GPO), was the location in which the majority of Sydney's soldiers enlisted into the Australian Army for World War I. The Sydney GPO was also the main conduit of news information during World War I.

On 8 March 1926, the Premier of NSW, Jack Lang, indicated that the State Government would provide a sum of ten thousand pounds for the commissioning of Sir Bertram Mackennal to undertake the project of the design and erection of a Cenotaph in Martin Place, to be completed by 25 April 1929. It was completed in 1927. Made of granite, it weighs 20 tonnes.[1]

The statues

The model for the soldier was Private William Pigott Darby from the 15th Infantry Battalion (Gallipoli & the Western Front; wounded at Pozières) and 4th Field Ambulance AIF. A native of Monasterevin, Ireland (born 25 April 1872), he died in Brisbane on 15 November 1935.

The model for the sailor was Leading Seaman John William Varco. He enlisted on 3 June 1913, served on HMAS Pioneer (1914–1916) in German East Africa and on HMAS Parramatta (1917–1919). He was awarded the Commonwealth Distinguished Service Medal in 1918 (one of 60 Australians to earn this honour) and died in October 1948.


  1. "Sydney Cenotaph". The Sydney Morning Herald. 5 August 1927. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 

External links