Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic restrictions, associated international border closures and uncertainty in the domestic tourism sector have collectively suppressed onsite visitation with multiple periods of closure during the year ending with the relaxation of restrictions and reopening in November 2021. This has had material impact on our self-funding activities. Despite this, success in growing digital programming and innovative onsite programming allowed us to engage 930,000 people.
Providing for the commemorative needs of veterans and the community is one of the Shrine’s primary functions: some 77,000 people participated in 175 commemorative services at the Shrine. In addition to onsite attendance, online engagement with the commemorative program remains strong with Remembrance Day and Anzac Day receiving significant online engagement (31,000 views for Remembrance Day and 56,000 for Anzac Day). The innovations introduced with the support of the Victorian State Government were leveraged to deliver live-streaming of all commemorative services, ensuring that engagement in commemoration is accessible for all.
Last Post Service
The Last Post Service continues to achieve its aims with both veteran participants and attendees reporting positive engagement and feedback. Participation at the weekly Service has been strong with up to 200 people joining us on the Second World War Memorial Forecourt at 4.45pm on Sundays. The Last Post Service is proving to be an integral pillar to the implementation of the Shrine’s Program Strategy with events commemorated scheduled to connect with special exhibitions and other programming.
Friends of the Shrine program
The Friends program directly engages members through Friends socials, public programs, special exhibition launch invitations and priority seating at major services. Friends also receive advance editions of the Shrine magazine Remembrance.
Retail and Tours
Repeated closures resulted in a dramatic reduction in visitation and significant changes to our visitor profile. Visitation remains suppressed following reopening in November 2021. Retail and tour sales have, however, performed strongly against per head conversion—exceeding financial targets. Tour licensing revenue was impacted by closures but was offset by the performance of the Shrine Tour.
The Shrine was delighted to host events supporting our community this year. This included a veteran led concert, Rock for Remembrance and Reflection as part of ANVAM’s March to Art annual program, and the launch of the Legacy Centenary Torch Relay.