ANZAC Battlefield (Bellona)Print Page Print this page

ANZAC Battlefield
ANZAC Battlefield

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson

The sculpture commemorates the bravery and sacrifice of the ANZACs at Gallipoli during the World War One.

The sculpture of "War" or "Bellona", as it is better known, by Sir Bertram Mackennal, was relocated to the Sculpture Garden in August 1999.  The sculpture, portraying Bellona: Roman goddess of war was made in 1906.

When Sir Bertram Mackennal learnt of the bravery of the ANZACs, he presented the sculpture to the Commonwealth Government in 1915. Mackennal’s gift was officially unveiled on Anzac Day, 1921, on the steps of Parliament House, Spring Street, Melbourne which was then the seat of the Australian Government.  Bellona’s relocation to Canberra was a matter of  disagreement, and in March 1926 the government decided that it should not to be placed anywhere near Parliament House. It was suggested that it be associated with the War Memorial, and that too created protest from those engaged in planning the War Memorial.

Parliament decided to lend the sculpture to the Federal Capital Commission and Bellona arrived in Canberra in late 1926, to wait until the War Memorial was completed.  On arrival it was discovered that the black marble pedestal was missing. It had remained in Melbourne and a locally poor concrete substitute was supplied

Bellona, Canberra’s first statue, was placed on the southern side of the Molonglo River facing the two bridges, which formed one bridge – Commonwealth Bridge. She sat in the centre of the plantation strip, which divided Commonwealth Avenue into two traffic lanes until she was relocated to the Sculpture Gardens.

Workmen yesterday removed the nude, bronze half-figure of Bellona, Roman Goddess of War, from its plinth in Commonwealth avenue, Canberra, where it has stood for more than 20 years. The statue was at the intersection which the Queen will pass several times during her visit to the national capital. It has been removed to the Australian War Memorial where it was originally intended it should go. Bellona was sculptured by Sir Bertram Mackennal, who presented it to the Commonwealth Government. With her ample proportions, Bellona had been the target of much practical joking since she was placed in Commonwealth avenue. Brassieres have been frequently placed on her, but promptly removed by officials. Bellona has also been the object of attention by amateur painters, who tried to enhance her charms.

The Minister for the Interior (Mr. Kent Hughes) denied to-day that Bellona's removal was connected with the Queen's visit. But it was learnt that there was a fear in some quarters that practical jokers would provide attentions to Bellona which might embarrass the Queen when passing the nude half-figure. Mr. Kent Hughes said the removal of the bust of Bellona from Commonwealth avenue had nothing to do with the Royal visit. Neither had it anything to do with the nudity of the statue itself. It was merely being removed to its rightful home the Australian War Memorial. The order to make this transfer was issued some time ago. Work on it "just happened to begin this week," he said.
Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW), 12th February 1954.


Address:Fairbairn & Limestone Avenues, Australian War Memorial Sculpture Garden, Campbell, 2612
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.280478
Long: 149.147294
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:Conflict
Actual Event Start Date:04-August-1914
Actual Event End Date:28-June-1919
Designer:Sir Edgar Bertram Mackennal (1915)


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:August 1999
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au