As the Australian War Memorial prepares to undergo an unprecedented $498 million expansion over the next decade, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the initiative was going to "make the War Memorial's vision a reality".
Yet its original vision and design dating back to the 1920s was filled with compromises, multiple and major adjustments, infighting, and at one stage could have contained lush gardens similar to those at Versailles running all the way to Parliament House.
While the memorial that sits atop Anzac Parade looking across Canberra has become one of the most iconic buildings in the nation, its original design could have made it vastly different.
The location, originally slated to be a casino under Walter Burley Griffin's plan for Canberra, was chosen by war historian Charles Bean, who was central to the creation of the memorial.
Bean envisaged the memorial sitting "on some hilltop, still, beautiful, gleaming white and silent, a building of three parts, a centre and two wings".
However, the head of military history at the memorial, Ashley Ekins, said Bean's first design would have been relatively simple compared to the one seen today.
"It would have been the most boring museum. There were rooms dedicated just to documents and paintings," Mr Ekins said.
A design competition was held in 1925 to determine what the future memorial would look like. All the entries were given the same brief: it had to include a hall of memory and space to include the names of the more than 60,000 killed in World War I.
There were 69 entries submitted to the competition. All of them were rejected.
The specifications required made it almost impossible to come under the budget of £250,000, or a relatively modest $20 million in today's money.
The memorial's curator of official and private records Margaret Farmer said only one entry came under budget: Australian architect John Crust's, who was responsible for one of the memorial's now iconic features.
"Crust proposed the cloisters around a courtyard featuring the names of the dead, and that was what made the design feasible for under £250,000, because if the names were all together inside the hall of memory, it would have made the dome very large," Ms Farmer said.
"He proposed a smaller dome, and that made it less expensive."
Rather than run with Crust's original design, the committee responsible for the memorial's construction asked him to team up with another architect, Emil Sodersteen, who also submitted an Art Deco design to the competition.
Before the pair had even submitted a joint design, some still saw the idea of a war memorial as controversial.
"Many saw it better that the amount of money used to build the memorial would be better spent on the living who had returned from war, rather than the dead," Mr Ekins said.
Together, the pair worked through 10 different designs for the memorial, many of them featuring the hall of memory at the front of the building, with the roll of names featured in courtyards running east to west, instead of north to south today.
"At one stage they proposed two courtyards, and had a front entrance near the hall of memory," Ms Farmer said.
While a design from the two architects was accepted in 1928, adjustments were constantly made, as construction stalled due to the Great Depression and limited government funds.
Some of the adjustments, mostly put forward by Sodersteen, ended up making the final design, such as the decision to open up the entrance flanked with pylons.
Ms Farmer said other adjustments were far more extravagant.
"There was the image of an elaborate garden. Sodersteen travelled to Europe and gave him grandiose plans for the memorial and the dome," she said.
"Sodersteen not only proposed gardens like Versailles, he landscaped plans all the way down Anzac Parade to Parliament House. The lake wasn't there at that point."
The gardens, also proposed for either side of the memorial, would be a place for quiet contemplation and reflection, although Ms Farmer said the cost of maintaining it would have been enormous.
"There would be all these gardens that would tier down into Anzac Parade," Ms Farmer said.
"The war memorial director John Treloar wrote to the heads of botanic gardens in Sydney and Melbourne asking how much water would be needed and how much it would cost to maintain.
"He was told it would depend on climate and soil conditions but the cost would have been improbable."
While Sodersteen and Crust came up with the design of the memorial together, Mr Ekins said the pair had a messy divorce, with Sodersteen departed in 1938 leaving Crust to complete the project.
"It was a marriage of convenience. The pair were polar opposites. In the end, the building was magnificent," he said.
The memorial opened on November 11, 1941, with Australia already firmly involved in another world conflict.
It would be another 25 years before the hall of memory was complete and the roll of honour installed with the names of the dead.
Despite the memorial being born out of an architectural compromise, Mr Ekins said the end result would stand the test of time, as the eventual expansion takes place around it.
"It's a masterpiece in a time capsule," he said.