Where once the award-winning Anzac Hall graced the back of the Australian War Memorial, there is now a vast hole in the ground known to the construction workers there as "The Pit".
The Canberra Times was given exclusive access as an army of labourers and mechanical diggers removed the last loads of 58,640 cubic meters of earth. That's the equivalent of 50 Olympic-sized swimming pools or 9000 truck-and-trailer loads.
While the public has been able to see the work being done at the front of the building, the seriously heavy lifting at the back has been out of sight.
But the glimpse behind the screens reveals it is an immense project, befitting its immense budget.
The Pit is nearly nine metres deep - about the same as three storeys of a building. At the peak of work, there will be 350 construction workers. The mechanical diggers seem tiny from above the site.
The rule is that the revamped complex can't look any higher from the front, as you look up Anzac Parade with your back to Lake Burley Griffin. That means that doubling the exhibition space means going down deeper at the back.
Controversy dogs the project even until today. The Canberra Times revealed that there's an extra $50 million on the initial $498 million bill.
The ambition for the project is suitably grand.
It includes a new southern entrance, a new Anzac Hall, refurbished galleries, an extension of the research building and reading room and a complete reworking of the parade ground.
The War Memorial says the facade of the sandstone building, which opened on Remembrance Day in 1941, and the commemorative area, which includes the Roll of Honour, Pool of Reflection and Hall of Memory, won't change.
There has been argument all along the way. It's been about cost but also the look of the thing, and whether the new development is a Disneyfication of the grimness of war.
The old Anzac Hall cost $11.3 million in 2001 and won architectural awards for its modern elegance. The Australian Institute of Architects campaigned against its demolition as part of the #HandsOffAnzacHall campaign.
It said that the regulatory framework to protect buildings of high architectural value had failed.
A former president of the institute, Clare Cousins, called the process to consult the community "misleading and inadequate".
"Nowhere in any of their limited public consultation materials do they mention demolishing Anzac Hall," she said.
But the visitors keep coming. Through the massive construction project, the doors have remained open.
"Yet overwhelmingly the demolition is raised as a concern every time public submissions are invited."
That demolition is well and truly done. It is evident in The Pit. The old Anzac Hall is no more. The foundations of the new one are on the way from the bare earth and rubble.
But the verdict on the change will not be in fully until the expanded memorial is complete, with its greater space for more exhibits on show.
There is a great art collection, for example, with some of the world's greatest war paintings (by Sidney Nolan in his Gallipoli series) rarely seeing the light of day.
When the new director Matt Anderson took over, he said the demolition and replacement of Anzac Hall would "grow the institution's heritage value" by creating more space to tell Australia's military history.
Mr Anderson said that the expansion's purpose was to recognise the service of veterans from more recent wars.
"The heritage value of Anzac Hall is the stories that are told within it, not the blade wall, and the roof line," he said.
"If we're doubling the space available to tell the stories, we're doubling the heritage value of that building, and of the memorial's power to tell the story of continuing service and sacrifice."
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