December 25, 2017: Shrine of Remembrance, now a memorial to all Australians who have served in war.

©Uwe Aranas/Shutterstock

Shrine of Remembrance

Top choice in Melbourne

One of Melbourne's icons, the Shrine of Remembrance is a commanding memorial to Victorians who have served in war and peacekeeping, especially those killed in WWI. 

The shrine draws thousands to its annual Anzac Day dawn service (on 25 April), while the Remembrance Day service at 11am on 11 November commemorates the signing of the 1918 Armistice, marking the formal end to WWI. At this precise moment a shaft of light shines through an opening in the ceiling, passing over the Stone of Remembrance and illuminating the word ‘love’; on all other days this effect is demonstrated using artificial lighting on the hour.

Shrine of Remembrance eternal flame

With its cenotaph and eternal flame (lit by Queen Elizabeth II in 1954), the forecourt was built as a memorial to those who died in WWII. There are several other memorials surrounding the shrine. Below the shrine, a stunningly conceived architectural space houses the Galleries of Remembrance, a museum dedicated to telling the story of Australians at war via its 800-plus historical artefacts and artworks.

Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne's domain park.
The classical exterior of Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance. ©Annie Leong/Shutterstock


Built between 1928 and 1934, much of it with Depression-relief, or ‘susso’ (sustenance) labour. Its stoic, classical design is partly based on the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. 

The shrine's upper balcony affords epic panoramic views of Melbourne's skyline and all the way up tram-studded Swanston Street. This unobstructed view isn't coincidental; planning regulations continue to restrict any building that would encroach on the view of the shrine from Swanston Street as far back as Lonsdale Street.

Planning your visit 

Download the free Shrine of Remembrance app for a self-guided tour, or consider joining the guided tours daily (free for Australian and New Zealand veterans and defence force personnel).

Kids can choose from four activity cards and learn about the Shrine, armed with an 'explorer kit'. Borrowed from the visitor centre, it features a periscope, a magnifying glass, a kaleidoscope and more.

The complex is under 24-hour police guard; during opening hours the police are required to wear uniforms resembling those worn by WWI light-horsemen. 


Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Melbourne attractions

1. Melbourne Observatory

0.12 MILES

Just outside Gate O of the Royal Botanic Gardens is the historic Melbourne Observatory. Built in the early 1860s, this was once a centre for weather…

3. Government House

0.27 MILES

On the outer edge of the Botanic Gardens, this Italianate Government House dates from 1872. A replica of Queen Victoria’s Osborne House on England’s Isle…

4. Royal Botanic Gardens


Considered one of the finest examples of Victorian-era landscaping in the world, Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens draw over two million visitors a year…

5. Australian Centre for Contemporary Art

0.45 MILES

ACCA is one of Australia’s most exciting and challenging contemporary galleries, showcasing a range of local and international artists. The building is…

6. Buxton Contemporary

0.52 MILES

Weird, wonderful and thought-provoking Buxton Contemporary, located at the University of Melbourne’s art school, opened in 2018 powered by the Michael…

7. Holden Centre

0.56 MILES

Built to host the swimming events for the 1956 Olympic Games, this dramatically shaped structure is now used by the Collingwood AFL club as a training…

8. NGV International


Housed in a vast, brutally beautiful, bunker-like building, the international branch of the NGV has an expansive collection, from ancient artefacts to the…