PM inspects winning student’s war memorial

Prime Minister Julia Gillard visited a new war memorial designed by Griffith architecture student Sarah Batchelor at Sunnybank today.

Ms Batchelor, a second-year Bachelor of Environmental Design (Architectural Studies) student, won the competition last year to design a memorial to be built in honour of Australian Service personnel of Chinese heritage. The memorial is in the Veterans’ Memorial Park Garden at Sunnybank RSL and honours the service and sacrifice of Chinese-Australians in the Australian defence forces. It features a black granite base, stainless steel bowl and two structures designed to emulate smoke rising from the bowl.

“As part of the competition, it was important that all aspects of respect were considered with the design, and that materials and colours used to convey the message of remembrance. The memorial aims to remember the past and recognise its significance to the community,” Ms Batchelor said. Beating a tough pool of 50 high-calibre entries, Ms Batchelor’s design captures the Chinese tradition of burning incense to commemorate the dead and the Australian ode to the fallen, ‘lest we forget’.

“It was very nerve-wracking to have the Prime Minister inspect my design, but exciting too,” said Ms Batchelor, who is aiming to progress onto the Master of Architecture program following her undergraduate degree. Head of architecture at Griffith’s School of Environment, Professor Gordon Holden, said the university’s architecture program and its initiatives seek to be as relevant as possible to the wider community.

“I chose this particular project for students to participate in because it was a real-life project that also has important symbolic meaning for the community.”