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What is the Hall of Service?
The Hall of Service is a beautiful artwork and architectural installation at the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney. It was opened to the public on November 11 2018 as part of the Anzac Memorial's Centenary Extension. Designed by artist Fiona Hall, the artwork pays tribute to the NSW servicemen and servicewomen who served with the First Australian Imperial Force (1st AIF). The installation has 1,701 plaques depicting the hometowns of the 1st AIF as well as plaques detailing 100 sites of military significance.
How has the Library been involved in this project and why?
The State Library’s digital team worked alongside the NSW Office for Veterans Affairs to create an interactive, online replica of the physical installation. It allows people to explore the artwork from anywhere in the world, giving them the opportunity to experience some of the same magic that standing in the physical Hall of Service space itself invokes.
The State Librarian is a Trustee of the Anzac Memorial and the Library a proud digital partner. We have worked with the Anzac Memorial to host and maintain their websites and digital platforms, which also includes some digital experiences in the Memorial’s exhibition spaces.
How does the Hall of Service interactive work?
The interactive emulates the experience of being in the space, which you can access from any digital device. When you first open the interactive you are 'standing' in the middle of the Hall of Service. Using 360 degree panoramic photography the public can explore the Hall. The artwork includes eight walls and a ring in the floor that all contain soil samples and name plaques. When you click on one of the walls in the interactive you will find the names of each NSW town listed on that wall. You can click into each wall, see the gorgeous multi-coloured soil samples up close and learn more about the local and international communities who contributed to the artwork, and explore the stories of those who answered the call to serve.
How can people find out more about those who served in the First World War?
The digital interactive links to useful resources including the University of NSW’s AIF Project Database containing digitised enlistee records, Australian Imperial Forces Project website, and the NSW Register of War Memorials. The Register is also managed by the Library in partnership with the Office for Veterans' Affairs.
As well as these fantastic resources, the Library itself has an extensive World War I collection including portraits of servicemen and women and fascinating handwritten personal diaries and letters from many people who served in the First World War. These diaries can be read and searched in full via the Library's Transcription Tool. Our World War I research guide is another starting point for those interested in learning more about those who served.
The Library is currently working with the Office for Veterans' Affairs to explore new and exciting ways to link a range of collections related to the First World War. There are plans in the works to use platforms like the Hall of Service interactive and the NSW Register of War Memorials to create links between photographs, diaries, letters, artworks and enlistee records.