Sulman Medal-winning firm, Crone, has secured development approval (DA) to rejuvenate Goulburn’s Rocky Hill Memorial Museum in regional NSW, with work estimated to commence later this year.  The timing of this approval is particularly fitting in the lead up to the ANZAC Centenary in April, marking 100 years since Australia and New Zealand’s involvement in the First World War.

The war memorial, erected in 1925 as a lasting tribute to the men and women of Goulburn who served in the First World War, stands 20 metres above the peak of Rocky Hill.  At the time of opening, the Goulburn Evening Penny Post reported the architect, Mr E C Manfred, had designed a tower, “which, rough and rugged in its beauty, conformed to the surrounding hill whereon it stood and which reminded them of the sturdy bravery of our illustrious soldiers.”

Responding to the brief from Goulburn Mulwaree Council, the practice has designed a contemporary new structure to complement the existing museum that once served as the caretaker’s cottage.  The interior of the new wing includes 230sqm of flexible and adaptable space to exhibit permanent and travelling collections of war memorabilia plus area for educational programs.  

“Rocky Hill Memorial Museum is a unique project due to the location and history of the site and we are honoured to be involved,” says Niall Durney, Crone principal and design director.

“Our concept approach was to complement the existing memorial tower and position the new museum in a location to enhance public experience.”

“We have incorporated mirrored cladding elements to reflect the surrounding landscape whilst signifying the precinct as a place of reflection, while the textured concrete structure is a contemporary interpretation of the memorial tower,” says Crone senior associate, Ashley Dennis.

Native grass plantings on the roof mimic the surrounding rugged landscape and help to blend the new building into the rocky escarpment, particularly when viewed from the memorial tower above.  Importantly, all of the materials in the design were selected to comply with the region’s stringent bushfire controls.

Bob Kirk, mayor of Goulburn Mulwaree, is particularly enthusiastic about the modern design elements.

“The concept plans do a fantastic job in fitting in with the unique landscape of Rocky Hill, whilst also blending in modern elements and finishes,” says Kirk. 

“Around 25,000 people visit our Rocky Hill War Memorial Museum each year and the concept for expansion would allow us to accommodate further touring groups, as well as attract touring exhibitions – in turn further lifting visitation numbers and the economic benefits for the region.”