The National Emergency Services Memorial was dedicated in honour of the thousands of men and women who serve or have served in Australia's emergency management and services organisations. The memorial provides a place to reflect on those who have been injured or died while carrying out their duties for the benefit of the wider Australian community.
Emergency Services in Australia is a collective description for a wide range of services provided by agencies throughout the country, involving a great many professionals, both career staff and volunteer workers. These agencies are responsible for the protection and preservation of life and property from harm resulting from incidents and emergencies that are considered in a field ranging from small yet hazardous events to catastrophic disasters, depending on their scale. All levels of government and private enterprise can be involved.
The agencies may cover initial response teams such as paramedics, fire, police and State Emergency Service, through disaster recovery practitioners in maritime, high country or urban search and rescue, to consequence management specialists in emergency medicine, other health and legal related arenas such as chemical, biological and radiological incidents, psychological and legal services. Other specialist areas include flood mitigation, civil defence, aero-medical evacuation, Australian Defence Force units, and the utility areas of communications, water and electricity supply, and transport. Emergency services also recognise the contribution of the welfare services, community response and help agencies, animal rescue, environmental protection, and community preparedness as contributing to emergency management.
The design of the memorial draws on the history of many tragic events, recalling images of grass fire at night, lightning flashes and the shadows of one's body cast by strong sunlight or fire.
A feature of the memorial wall is a three-dimensional frieze which gathers a collection of images reflecting the diversity of emergency services personnel at work, and records some of their experiences. It is a visual expression of a story and experience of national emergency management based on the underlying principles of Prevent, Prepare, Respond, Recover. The varied level and scale of detail on the surface allows the images to be read at different distances, allowing images to appear depending on the position of the viewer and the light and shadow on the textured surface.
The east face of the memorial wall is highly polished revealing words that embody the values and professionalism of the emergency services personnel.
The wall of the memorial also gives the visitor a sense of safety, like that provided by Emergency Services personnel. The raised wall curves up in an expression of comfort, to reflect the warmth of the sun and give shelter from the wind.
The National Emergency Services Memorial is a place of celebration, as well as reflection and contemplation. It provides a national focus for organised special events and services for all people involved and the emergencies to which they have responded. The memorial is designed to invite still moments of engagement, slowing down and holding the visitor in contemplation and reflection.
The memorial was designed by Melbourne landscape architects, Aspect Melbourne Pty Ltd.
Located in Kings Park by the shore of Lake Burley Griffin, access to the National Emergency Services Memorial is by path from both the Rond Terraces car park and the cycle path along Lake Burley Griffin. It can be seen from across Lake Burley Griffin by day and night.