Korean War Memorial

Korean War Memorial

The NSW Korean War Memorial, officially dedicated on 26 July 2009, is located at the northern end of Moore Park, a highly significant public parkland area less than 5km from the centre of Sydney. The park is heritage listed as a place of national significance to the Australian people due in part to its historic setting as a place for significant national events.

The memorial commemorates the Australian and Korean veterans of the Korean War (1950–1953).

It is a memorial that honours a friendship forged through war, between two different countries, cultures and communities. The memorial is a place that remembers the war with dignity and in so doing honours the hope of future peace. It is a place of significance; a place that brings people together for ceremonies and cross-cultural celebrations, while remaining accessible to all park users.

The memorial was funded jointly by the NSW Government, Korean Government, Veterans groups and the Korean community of Sydney.

Memorial design

The memorial design was selected by a design competition run in 2007 by the NSW Government Architect’s Office. The winning competition entry was submitted by Jane Cavanough (Artlandish Art and Design) and Pod Landscape Architecture.

The designers’ intention is that the memorial is a defined place that sits within the gardens.

The main themes of the design are “commemoration, regeneration and remembrance”. Each of these themes is a physical layer within the memorial design.

“Commemoration” is symbolised by a “taegeuk” shaped path winding through the circular memorial. The “taegeuk” is a symbol both of eastern culture and the South Korean flag.
“Regeneration” is symbolised by a field of forged steel “Roses of Sharon”. The Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is the national flower of Korea.
The memorial centrepiece is a Korean stone altar for remembrance and the placement of wreaths.

The memorial has also been designed to respond to the specific context of Moore Park and the Memorial site. It uses a sculptural language of landscape elements which are symbolically appropriate to the memorial, but also the park landscape of Moore Park.

About the Korean War (1950-1953)

On the 25 June, 1950, armed forces from North Korea made an unprovoked attack across the 38th parallel into South Korea, beginning a war that would last three years and claim more than 300,000 allied deaths.In response, the fledgling United Nations authorised the international community to send a multinational force to restore peace and freedom to the Korean peninsula. Sixteen nations contributed forces to the UN effort, including Australia. After a series of major setbacks, the UN forces regained the initiative with an audacious landing at Inchon, which led to the recapture of Seoul and the expulsion of North Korean forces from South Korean territory.

The entry of China into the conflict in November 1950 saw a series of major offensives against the UN forces, including the Battle of Kapyong in April 1951, in which Australian forces performed with exceptional skill and gallantry.

However, the Chinese offensive was not decisive and by July 1951, the war lapsed into a two year stalemate during which lengthy peace negotiations took place in the village of Panmunjom. Those negotiations eventually resulted in a ceasefire agreement, and hostilities ended on the 27 July, 1953.

The memorial honours the military personnel of the Commonwealth of Australia and the Republic of Korea who served, suffered and died on the Korean peninsula during the years 1950-1953 in the cause of freedom, peace and justice among nations.

Their sacrifice was not in vain.

We will remember them.