The Shrine of Remembrance

The National War Memorial of Victoria Panorama of city skyline, showing  the forecourt during construction  View of the Forecourt and Shrine Cenotaph and Eternal Flame Queen Elizabeth II arriving at the Shrine, for ceremony of dedication, 28 February, 1954

Victoria’s monument to those who served in the second world war was designed by a man whose personal experience of that war brought him to Australia.  Born in Czechoslovakia in 1893, Arnost Edward Mühlstein established his architectural practice in the modernist style and travelled widely in Europe to study architecture of all periods.  Mühlstein was Jewish – warned of his impending arrest, he fled Czechoslovakia in 1939.

Arriving in Adelaide in 1940, Mühlstein joined the practice of Lawson & Cheesman and began to settle in a new city, taking an active role in local theatre.  He enlisted as a ‘friendly alien’ with the Royal Australian Engineers, which brought him to Melbourne in 1945.  At the end of the war he remained in Victoria, acquired Australian citizenship and anglicised his name to Ernest Edward Milston.

Following WWII, the Trustees of the Shrine of Remembrance sought concepts for a memorial to complement the WWI Shrine of Remembrance. Two architects proposed a forecourt with EE Milston’s design selected.  Both the Shrine and the Forecourt have classical roots, with the Shrine based on the Mausoleum of Halicarnassos and the Forecourt based on the Acropolis in Athens.  Milston’s design features flagpoles to represent the armed forces, an eternal flame and a cenotaph with sculpture created by George Allen.  Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II dedicated the Forecourt during her first visit to Australia.

The WWI Shrine and WWII Forecourt form the structure of Victoria’s war memorial, with other conflicts remembered by statuary and garden elements, some of which have been relocated to the site.

The National War Memorial of Victoria
Part of proposal submitted by EE Milston
Ink and pencil on tracing paper
EE Milston 1976.0025

Panorama of city skyline, showing the forecourt during construction, undated
Composite photograph
Photographer unknown
EE Milston 1976.0025

View of the Forecourt and Shrine, undated
Print of pencil sketch, with watercolour and white poster paint
EE Milston 1976.0025

Cenotaph and Eternal Flame, undated
Ink on paper
Artist unknown
EE Milston 1976.0025

Queen Elizabeth II arriving at the Shrine, for ceremony of dedication, 28 February, 1954
Photographer unknown
OSBB 24
EE Milston 1976.0025

Pass to Official Enclosure, Shrine Forecourt, 28 February, 1954
Printed paper, with ink annotation
EE Milston 1976.0025