On 23 December 2015 the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Hon Stuart Robert MP, announced leading French construction company Bouygues Bâtiment Grand Ouest would build the Sir John Monash Centre at the Australian National Memorial near Villers-Bretonneux, France.
Bouygues Bâtiment Grand Ouest is a local regional subsidiary of Bouygues Construction with the ability to resource the project locally, providing strong employment and investment opportunities to the region.
This significant milestone in the development of the Centre allows construction to commence early in 2016, less than one year after a first look at the winning design for the Sir John Monash Centre was unveiled by the then Prime Minister on 26 April 2015 at the Australian National Memorial.
When complete, the Sir John Monash Centre will educate a new audience about Australia’s early role in international affairs, reshape patterns of visitation to the battlefields and in so doing, provide a lasting legacy from the Centenary of Anzac.
The Centre is named after General Sir John Monash, who led the Australian Corps with outstanding success on the Western Front in 1918, including the famous 4 July 1918 victory at Le Hamel which became a template for operations that followed.
Designed by Cox Architecture, the approximately 1,000 square metre Centre will be located adjacent to the Australian National Memorial, half sunken into the ground and with a turf roof to ensure a harmonious relationship to the Memorial and landscape.
The heart of the Centre will be a 483 square metre interpretive area delivering a leading-edge integrated multimedia experience designed by Melbourne based company Convergence Associates. It will provide an evocative, emotional, informative and educational experience for visitors of all nationalities.
The Centre will be the central point to the existing Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front which links First World War sites of significance to Australia, including museums, battlefields, memorials and cemeteries.
The Sir John Monash Centre will be open to visitors by Anzac Day 2018.
A fly-through video (above) of the winning concept design was shown at the unveiling.