Rush Wright Associate was engaged to design a new memorial for the CFA and Emergency Management Victoria. The new Victoria Emergency Services Memorial is crafted from the need to integrate the memorialisation of the six Emergency Services Organisations into the historically significant grounds of Treasury Gardens.
The brave men and women of our Victorian Emergency Services lay their lives on the line, daily, right around Victoria. Their service and sacrifice are continuous; their courage, bravery and duty of care to others equals their comrades in the armed forces, and their exposure to risk never ceases.
The new Memorial will be a place of sanctuary and reflection for members’ families, as they gather either individually or in groups to reflect on the service and sacrifice of their loved ones.
For this reason, design has evolved to become a ‘garden memorial’. This strategy differs from other memorials in Melbourne’s parklands, which are largely sculptures and objects placed into the larger parkland scene.
An emphasis on crafting a selection of Victorian stones juxtaposing rough and sawn edges to reveal hand-sculpted cast bronze commemorative elements lends a tactile pathos to the Memorial and links to the tradition of stonework in Melbourne’s historic central parks.
Complex stakeholder engagement and approval processes with the City of Melbourne and State Government agencies, including consultation with the families of emergency services communities and the wider public.
The use of native tree ferns in the new Victorian Emergency Services Memorial seeks to graft a natural tension between ‘Victorian place’ (representation of fire-prone Victorian fern environments such as the Dandenong) and the ‘Victorian era’ (Treasury Gardens’ history as a garden of 19th-century Victorian era when fern mania was rife and professional and amateur collectors plundered those same forests for Melbourne’s first parks).
The Victorian Emergency Services Memorial has received an award for Landscape Design in the 2021 TDF Design File Awards.
The award jury cited the project as: “A beautiful memorial which focuses on the interactive rather than a solitary monument. It’s a reflective, emotive environment that is respectful and enjoyable” – Myles Baldwin
Landscape Architecture: Rush Wright Associates
Project Lead: Cassandra Chilton
Project Location: Treasury Gardens, Melbourne, Victoria Australia
Design year: 2019
Year Built: 2020