Dome of Souls sculpture

Dome of Souls sculpture, public art, Geraldton

Public Art: Dome of Souls sculpture

Sculptors : © Charlie Smith and Joan Walsh Smith

Sculptor's Website: www.smithsculptors.com

Description: The Dome of Souls is a memorial to the 645 Australian sailors who lost their lives when the HMAS Sydney II was sunk by the German cruiser, Kormoran, during a sea battle off the coast of Western Australia on the 19th of November, 1941. The dome , which is the centre piece to the entire HMAS Memorial, comprises of 645 stainless steel gulls. The seven pillars which hold up the dome respresent wisdom, power, goodness, strength and the tree of life. Under the dome on the granite ceremonial area lies a polished bronze propeller.

Date Unveiled: 18th November 2001.

Location: HMAS Sydney Memorial is located at  Mount Scott Park, Corner George Road & Brede Street, Geraldton, Western Australia.

Background to the Dome of Souls: The inspiration for the dome came to sculptor's Charlie Smith and Joan Walsh Smith during the Memorial site dedication ceremony on the 19th of November, 1998. As the Last Post rang out at sunset during the ceremony a flock of silver gulls swooped over the crowd. The seagulls seemed a fitting symbol for the spirits of the sailors who "fly free between water and sky."

The HMAS Sydney Memorial, sitting high on the hill overlooking the Indian Ocean, in Geraldton , is one of the most imaginative memorials in the State. The memorial took the well renowned Smith Sculptors Studio almost three years to design and create and stands as a fitting memorial to the 645 crew members who lost their lives defending our State and country on the HMAS Sydney II in 1941.

Background to that Fateful night: The year was 1941 and the world was at war. Concerns that both the Japanese and Germans were planning an attack on Australia was running high. The role of the H.M.A.S Sydney, which was a light craft cruiser operated by the Royal Australian Navy, was to escort ships safetly to and from harbours.

In October a strange incident concerning an unidentified ship near Rottnest Island raised alarms that an enemy vessel had placed mines near the entrance to Fremantle harbour. In response the Sydney was given orders to divert from its original plans and intercept the troopship Queen Mary before it reached Femantle and stay with it until the area was sweeped for mines. Once the Queen Mary was docked safely in Fremantle the Sydney was given the task of escorting the Zealandia to the Sundra Straits (Indonesia).

On the return leg the Sydney spied a merchant ship off the coast of Western Australia, near Carnarvon.

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