|List||Register of the National Estate (Non-statutory archive)|
|Legal Status||Registered (27/03/1984)|
|Place File No||8/01/000/0097|
|Statement of Significance|
The Memorial Grave of Brigadier-General Bridges, designed by
architect Walter Burley Griffin in 1916 and completed in 1920, is important as
a memorial to the first Commandant of Australia's first Military College.
The new Military College was established in October 1910
at Duntroon, a site selected by Bridges. As Major General, Bridges was
commander of the Australian Infantry Force which landed at Gallipoli in April
1915. On the morning of 15 May 1915 Bridges was shot by a sniper in Monash Valley.
Bridges died en route to Egypt on 18 May 1915. (Criteria A.4 and H.1)
Historic Themes: 7.4 Federating Australia, 7.7 Defending Australia, 8.8 Honouring the fallen, 9.7 Dying.
The Memorial Grave is important for its symbolic, cultural and social associations as part of the landscape setting of Duntroon and the history of Australia's defence forces. (Criterion G.1)
The Memorial Grave is important for its aesthetic characteristics which draw on the prevailing ideas for war memorials of the period and for the design concept which draws on the ceremonial aspects of military parade grounds. (Criterion E.1)
|Official Values Not Available|
The Royal Military College of Australia was established in 1911 under the direction of Brigadier-General Bridges with the objective of providing an officer training facility for the Australian Army. Sir William Throsby Bridges (1861-1915) was born at Greenock, Scotland and was educated at Ryde, Isle of Wight and, from 1871, at the Royal Naval School, New Cross, London. When his family migrated to Canada he continued his education at Trinity College School, Port Hope. In 1877 he entered the Royal Military College of Canada at Kingston, but became the Kingston cadet discharged for academic failure when he attempted to follow his parents to Australia, where he arrived in 1879. With the outbreak of the South African War, Bridges was selected for special service with the British Army. Bridge's career was advanced in March 1902 when he became Assistant Quartermaster General, which gave him responsibility for military intelligence, the formulation of defence schemes and organisation of the forces. Bridges was promoted Colonel in October 1906 and was known for his attempts to improve efficiency in the army.
The history of the Royal Military College began with Federation of the six Australian Colonies in January 1901. On 7 April 1902 the first commander of the Australian Military Forces, Major General Sir Edward Hutton, recommended that a military college be established along the lines of other military schools in the US, Canada and England. Nothing immediately resulted from this recommendation and in 1908 Colonel William Throsby Bridges, Australian Chief of Intelligence, put forward Hutton's suggestions, again unsuccessfully. The Defence Act of 1909, which introduced compulsory military training for home defence, also made provision for the establishment of a military college. Before the Defence Act was enacted the Government had invited Field Marshal Kitchener to visit Australia to advise on the defence of the Commonwealth. Among the recommendations of Kitchener's comprehensive report of 1910 was that a college should be established for the training of officers of the permanent military forces. The Government then instructed Colonel William Throsby Bridges, who was then the Australian representative on the Imperial General Staff in London, to visit and report on military colleges in England, Canada and the United States with a view to setting up a college suited to Australian requirements. Colonel Bridges reported to the Minister of Defence and soon afterwards his recommendation was accepted. Bridges was given the task of founding the new college and, on 30 May 1910, was appointed to be its first Commandant, with the rank of Brigadier-General. On the 1 July 1910 Brigadier-General Bridges selected the site of Duntroon and on 1 October 1910 the Minister of Defence formally approved Duntroon for the new college.
General Bridges was Commandant of the College until he was called to serve in World War One in May 1914, when he assumed a senior appointment as Inspector General. He was appointed commander of the Australian Imperial Force, with the rank of Major General, in August 1914. In the Gallipoli landing in April 1915 his division was the first ashore on Anzac Cove. On the morning of 15 May he was shot by a sniper in Monash Valley, his wound became gangrenous and he died en route to Egypt on 18 May. He had been appointed KCB the previous day.
Designed by Walter Burley Griffin in 1916, the Memorial Grave was not completed until 1920.
The Memorial Grave is set in natural bushland, next to General Bridges Drive, which separates Duntroon from the associated ADFA complex to the north.
The design for the grave is simple and dignified. The grave comprises a low, polished granite slab with a two tier base of rock faced granite with a bronze sword set on the top of the slab. The Memorial Grave set in a large gravelled area, defined by a simple metal fence and overlooking the Royal Military Academy, has parallels with and is analogous to the formality and ceremony of military parade grounds. The entrance to the grave is defined by two stone pillars of similar detail to the grave. The formality and military nature of the grave are further expressed in four symmetrically placed trees (a Cupressus species) drawing parallels with the contemplative aspects of War Memorials erected after the First World War, some of which featured groves of pines.
|History Not Available|
|Condition and Integrity|
|General Bridges' Grave is well tended and honoured today. Access is not allowed into the fenced area in reverence to the importance of the General. The view from the area still looks down upon the RMC at Duntroon and the broad areas around it. (18 August 1995)|
|General Bridges Drive, Duntroon, Campbell.|
Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol. 7. University of Melbourne Press |
AHC File 8/01/000/0097
Report Produced Tue Sep 2 12:47:50 2014