The towering column, approximately 79 metres above ground, topped with a stylised American eagle was constructed in 1953-54 as a memorial to the sacrifices made by Australian and American service personnel in defending Australia during World War II. The memorial is located in Field Marshall Sir Thomas Blamey Square, which was established as a feature of the Defence complex in Russell.
Why is this place important?
The Australian-American Memorial is an important symbol of Australian gratitude to American service personnel for their contribution to the defence of Australia during World War II. It also signifies the close ties established between Australia and America during the war.
The memorial is the earliest national capital feature in the development of Russell, the precinct representing the third corner of the National Triangle, one of the major elements of the Griffins' plan for Canberra.
Located at the northern geometrical point of the National Triangle, the memorial effectively marks one end of the eastern or Kings Avenue axis of the Triangle and is a prominent feature when approaching Russell along Kings Avenue.
Field Marshall Sir Thomas Blamey Square was named in honour of a major figure in Australian military history and the only Australian to ever reach the rank of Field Marshall. The naming of the square, bas relief and plaque, honour Blamey's place in Australian history.
The Australian American Memorial and Sir Thomas Blamey Square are the focus of the Defence complex in Russell. The Square is framed by the prominent F and G Blocks, and reinforced by the new buildings RN1 and RN2.
The retaining wall includes a marble panel with large inset lettering: ëField Marshall Sir Thomas Blamey Square'. On the other side of the name is a cast bronze bas relief depicting Blamey. On the other side are two bronze plaques with the following text:
Field Marshal Sir Thomas Blamey Square
This square is named in honour of Field Marshal Sir Thomas Albert Blamey GBE KCB CMG DSO ED (1884-1951) During World War I, Field Marshal Sir Thomas Blamey served with the Australian 1st Division in Egypt as GSO III (Intelligence). He landed at Gallipoli in April 1915 and remained on the Peninsula until August 1915 when he was appointed Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster-General of the 2nd Division. After further service at Gallipoli and in Egypt, France and Belgium, Blamey was appointed GSO I of the 1st Division in July 1916. He was appointed Chief of Staff of the Australian Corps with the rank of Brigadier-General in June 1918. During World War II, he served initially as GOC, AIF, Middle East. He served as Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Middle East between April 1941 and March 1942. He was then appointed Commander-in-Chief, Australian Military Forces and Commander, Allied Land Forces, South-West Pacific Area, in which capacity he accepted the Japanese surrender at Moratai on 9th September, 1945. In 1944, on Blamey's recommendation, the Australian Government decided to constitute the Australian National University, in Canberra.
In 1950 this distinguished military commander became the first Australian soldier to be appointed Field Marshal.
This plaque was unveiled on 27 May 2001 by the Hon Bruce Scott MP Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence at the renaming and dedication of the Field Marshal Sir Thomas Blamey Square on the fiftieth anniversary of the Field Marshal's death.
The original plaque for the then named Sir Thomas Blamey Square was unveiled on 18 November 1982 by the Rt Hon I M Sinclair Minister for Defence.'
A large bronze wreath and a commemorative tablet are located at the base of the column. Below the crest of the Commonwealth of Australia is an inscription which reads:
In grateful remembrance of the vital help given by the United States of America during the way in the Pacific 1941-1945.
The Australian American Memorial and Field Marshal Sir Thomas Blamey Square are located on Russell Drive, Russell. The memorial and square are open to the public.
Australian American Memorial and Field Marshal Sir Thomas Blamey Square Conservation Planning Report, 2009. Prepared by Duncan Marshall for the National Capital Authority.