Trees on the chopping block as War Memorial gears up for expansion

Ian Bushnell 21 October 2019 29
AWM proposed temporary carpark

An artist’s impression from the Works Approval application of the proposed temporary car park at the Australian War Memorial.

Sixty-three trees will go from the grounds of the Australian War Memorial in Campbell under a proposed car park extension to support the $500 million redevelopment of the national institution.

The AWM has lodged its first Works Approval application with the National Capital Authority connected with the controversial nine-year expansion.

The project site is towards the southern corner of the Memorial grounds, known as the Eastern Precinct, to the north of Fairbairn Avenue.

The AWM proposes to extend the visitors basement car park near Poppy’s Cafe and build a temporary car park on top for construction workers to use during the overall redevelopment.

The temporary car park will later be landscaped, with grass and eucalypts planted to replicate the heritage values of the Eastern Precinct, the planning report prepared by Purdon Planning says.

It says the site has been selected because of its low impact on surrounding suburbs, with the temporary car park to be screened from view by existing trees on the south-east corner of the Memorial grounds.

The visitors car park extension will provide 123 spaces, while the workers’ car park will have 115.

“Once redevelopment works have been completed the temporary car parking area will be transformed to an open landscaped area consistent with existing heritage values, available for visitors of the Memorial and users of Poppy’s Café,” the planning report says.

The AWM site after landscaping

The AWM project site after landscaping.

A heritage assessment found there would be minor and moderate adverse impacts on heritage values related to trees, the Memorial grounds themselves and the Parliamentary Vista.

As a result, the Memorial adjusted the extent of excavation work to minimise the number of trees removed, and management measures will be implemented to ensure the health of the retained trees is maintained.

The planning report says the affected trees are recent plantings and only one remnant eucalypt had been identified, and the Memorial has purposely positioned the car park to ensure its retention.

It also directed the project engineer to make changes to the structural capacity of the car park to allow greater soil depth for future plantings of mature trees, which the planning report says will mean more natives will be planted over the site.

This addressed concerns from the Architects Moral Rights owners about the proposed landscaping not being in keeping with the current precinct.

The ecological impact assessment found there were no triggers within the study area for a referral under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and that there was no evidence of endangered habitat values or species of flora or fauna on the site.

The future landscaped area will be subject to a separate Works Approval application.

What's Your Opinion?

Please login to post your comments, or connect with
29 Responses to Trees on the chopping block as War Memorial gears up for expansion
Christine Jones Christine Jones 2:48 pm 26 Oct 19

So its OK for this to happen but its not OK to get rid of a eucalypt towering over your house and dropping branches?

Greg Ophel Greg Ophel 2:55 pm 23 Oct 19

Time to have a Tree Memorial for all trees chopped down.

Dave Lenihan Dave Lenihan 8:09 pm 22 Oct 19

How about, NO.

Andrea Charlton Andrea Charlton 11:41 am 22 Oct 19


John Canevski John Canevski 9:34 pm 21 Oct 19

Who cares,there are too many trees in Canberra as it is

Sher Bee Sher Bee 8:50 pm 21 Oct 19

I understand that it removing trees is often needed. If so each tree cut down should be replaced be at least 2 new trees nearby.

Benjammin Murrell Benjammin Murrell 7:09 pm 21 Oct 19

I hope you lot of whingers kicked up this much of a stink when they removed the trees that lined northbourne for the light rail or the copious amounts of apartments blocks being built on a daily basis. Crazy thing about trees is they can plant more, you should head down the Arboretum and have a squizz. The War Memorial brings in more $$ to the capital than any of you and should be expanded to accommodate a growing history and the people who attend it.

    Darren Bryant Darren Bryant 7:20 pm 21 Oct 19

    Benjammin this one’s more complicated than just trees. Demolishing a perfectly good, architect designed building, spending $500M to please defence contractors like Raytheon AND they need to chop down a bunch of trees to do this while ex-servicemen are topping themselves because Vet Affairs refuses to recognise PTSD 💁🏽‍♂️

    Mary Kingsford Mary Kingsford 8:52 pm 21 Oct 19

    Darren Bryant get your facts right.

    Vet Affairs does recognize PTSD.

    Money spent on AWM is for the AWM, it is not Vet Affairs money.

    Darren Bryant Darren Bryant 10:24 pm 21 Oct 19

    Mary I’ve got my facts straight: Where did I say AWM money is used by the DVA? The money comes from somewhere - doesn’t grow on Eucalypts mate 🌳

    Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 11:35 pm 21 Oct 19

    Benjammin Murrell Nup.

    Benjammin Murrell Benjammin Murrell 11:22 am 22 Oct 19

    Margaret Freemantle a true hero, Let’s build you a memorial.

Peter Bee Peter Bee 6:45 pm 21 Oct 19

Waste of money, a fifth of that could build a bloody big shed to hold the bigger items at Mitchell.

Gonnie Kelly Gonnie Kelly 5:31 pm 21 Oct 19

Leave the war memorial as it is It is big enough .

Shannon Keith Shannon Keith 4:39 pm 21 Oct 19

You already can’t get around the War Memorial in a day, I just can’t see the value in expanding it. Surely it’s better to use the existing space to do curated exhibitions - new stuff coming out will keep people coming back. And the location among established trees is important so it’s a shame to lose so many trees when they could be looking at better public transport connections...I thought the tram was going to be going straight past on the way to the airport?

Andrew Dudley Andrew Dudley 3:27 pm 21 Oct 19

Spend money supporting veterans and their families, the war memorial is big and amazing and expansions are not currently necessary.

    Mary Kingsford Mary Kingsford 10:54 pm 21 Oct 19

    Andrew Dudley AWM money is for the AWM.

    Vet Affairs money is for veterans and the families.

    The AWM dosent go anywhere near telling the story of the last 40 yrs, because there is no room.

    Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 11:34 pm 21 Oct 19

    Mary Kingsford I Agree totally with Andrew Dudley. Why do people fight? For the living! Not for memorials.....

Russell Nankervis Russell Nankervis 3:23 pm 21 Oct 19

It doesn't need to expand

Mark Chapman Mark Chapman 3:19 pm 21 Oct 19

Not to mention the ones that will have to make way for the dodgem cars and roller-coaster.

    Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 4:04 pm 21 Oct 19

    Mark I don't see any of that for the AWM?

    Mark Chapman Mark Chapman 11:59 pm 21 Oct 19

    Daniel Duncan I might have been exaggerating for comic effect, to suggest that the expansion might not be in the best taste.


Roberta Lynne Anning Roberta Lynne Anning 3:14 pm 21 Oct 19

So much for supporting the climate change agenda. 🙄

    Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 4:03 pm 21 Oct 19

    Roberta they are planting more trees once the work is done.

    Roberta Lynne Anning Roberta Lynne Anning 4:47 pm 21 Oct 19

    Daniel Duncan like they did on Northbourne Ave, those are all dying because they aren't drought proof and no one is watering them.

    Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 5:24 pm 21 Oct 19

    Roberta trees die. They could make better choices on the trees they picked.

    Philip Vels Philip Vels 1:18 am 22 Oct 19

    63 trees is so little. Please go count how many trees are in the ACT.

Stephen Saunders Stephen Saunders 2:39 pm 21 Oct 19

Toned Abs, at the ready, with his chainsaw.

Grail Grail 12:54 pm 21 Oct 19

Just move that collection to a war museum already. Get it out of the War Memorial.

We shouldn’t be celebrating the machines of death and destruction in the place we are supposed to be remembering the waste of life. We sent people to their deaths because a few men couldn’t check their egoes. It doesn’t matter how amazing the killing machines were.

I hope these suits don’t have to live through the type of conflict they are so excited about. But if they don’t learn from the past we are clearly doomed to repeat it.

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Region Group Pty Ltd

Search across the site