Forgetting, sacrifice, and trauma in the Western Australian State War Memorial
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Built in 1929, the Western Australian State War Memorial was not the grand structure that many wanted, and its construction was hindered by the resounding failure of two appeals for funds from an apparently apathetic public. State government and city authorities refused to assist unless the memorial was utilitarian, a stance deeply opposed by a State War Memorial Committee committed to a monument and shrine. However, the familiar debate about utility versus monument in war commemoration not only underlined tensions about the visible public recognition due to returned soldiers and the way that the fallen should be honoured, but it coalesced around the problem of how the concepts of sacrifice and trauma generated by the First World War might be memorialised and represented. This article pursues the argument that sacrifice and trauma are crucial to understanding why the committee rejected a utilitarian memorial and persisted with their monument scheme.
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