At the Melbourne
Shrine of Remembrance, a Wreath Laying Ceremony will take place in the
Sanctuary of the Shrine. The Sanctuary is considered the heart of the
Shrine. It has a compelling atmosphere of reverence. The Sanctuary
serves as a place of ceremonial events and personal solitude.
In the Sanctuary is
the stone of Remembrance and has no hidden meaning…but reveals its
purpose with the uttermost simplicity”. It bears the inscription
“Greater Love Hath No Man”, which is taken from the Bible, John15.13.
The full verse reads
“Greater Love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his
friends”. The stone is placed below floor level, so that no hands may
touch it and that heads bow in reverence to read the inscription.
A special feature of
the Shrine is the Ray of Light; a beam of sunlight which passes through
an aperture crossing the word Love on the stone of Remembrance on
It took Dr Baldwin,
the Government Astronomer and Surveyors, 144 pages of astronomical and
mathematical calculations to ensure the precision of the placement of
the apertures.Dr Baldwin calculated that the ray will continue to pass
the centre of the Stone, within two minutes of 11am on Remembrance Day
for at least 5000 years. The accuracy of the calculations was tested on
Armistice Day in 1931, when to the relief of surveyors the ray of
sunlight fell upon a motar-board where the Stone of Remembrance was to
The external aperture
is covered on all days except Remembrance Day. Just above the Frieze
panels on the eastern wall is the internal aperture. On Remembrance Day
the shaft of light first appears on the north-west side of the wall
surrounding the Stone of Remembrance and the light then moves across the
It takes 11 minutes
for the light to cross the stone. Precisely at 11am the light shines
upon the word Love in the centre of the Stone. That marks the
commencement of one minute of silence (originally two minutes) and the
Governor of Victoria lays a Wreath. Those present for the ceremony
include the Premier, Lord Mayor of Melbourne, diplomats, politicians,
Shrine Trusties and Governors, RSL and Legacy representatives and
Defence Service Chiefs.
The Armistice to end
World War One was signed at 5am on the 11th of November, but
it was a further six hours before the hostilities on all fronts ended.
Thus, Armistice hour is on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the
eleventh month, 1918.
NB. The Armistice was
signed in a railway carriage of the Allied Supreme Commander, Marshal
Foch at Compiegne (68km north east of Paris).
The Red Poppy is the
symbol of Remembrance by all Commonwealth Countries since the end of
WWI, to remember the members of their Armed Forces who have died in the
line of duty. These Poppies bloomed across some of the Worlds
Battlefields of Flanders in WWI. The brilliant colour an appropriate
symbol for the blood spilled in the War.