Lismore war memorial returns to its original home
LISMORE'S first war memorial for the Great War will be officially rededicated this morning at 10am.
The memorial has finally been returned to its original site - a small park in North Lismore, close to where the Northern Rivers Anzacs camped in 1914 before heading to battlefields overseas.
Veterans Affairs Minister David Elliott yesterday joined Lismore MP Thomas George and Vietnam veteran Ken Jolley at the newly refurbished memorial ahead of the rededication ceremony.
Mr Jolley, who co-ordinated the relocation, said the memorial had been moved twice since it was erected in 1926, but the RSL has now brought it "home” to the corner of Bridge St and Alexander Pde.
"A hundred years have passed since the Great War, but finally this memorial is back where it belongs, just metres from the Lismore Show Grounds,” he said.
"The first Anzacs camped there at a make-shift transit base between 1914-18.
"The camp was close to the North Lismore train station, where they boarded steam trains for Brisbane army training camps. After that they were loaded onto ships bound for the battlefields of Turkey and France.
"It is not known how many lads from Lismore and the surrounding towns fought in the Great War, but 145 never came home and their names are on this memorial.
"I arranged for the obelisk to be moved back to its original site.
"Perhaps I got behind the project because I can relate to those young men who were shipped out.
"When I was 22 years old I was sent to Vietnam.”
Lismore's First World War Memorial was moved from near the showgrounds to the garden of the South Lismore RSL Hall in 1988, but when the RSL sold the hall in 2004 the monument again needed moving.
"They decided to position it outside Lismore's train station so commuters could see it, but two days after the monument was moved the state government announced that the Northern Rivers railway line was closing,” Mr Jolley said.
Mr Jolley said in recent years the monument had fallen into a state of disrepair, but in the past six months it has been totally refurbished thanks to the Lismore community.
"The names of the 145 fallen lads have been enhanced by new paintwork and the monument has been retiled, and the surrounding area landscaped,” Mr Jolley said.
"Lismore Council, who physically shifted the monument for us, have been fantastic, but there were a number of Lismore businesses who were extremely generous with their resources and time: Richmond Sand and Gravel, Beckinsales Monumental Masons, Matthews Metal Fabrication, Holcim Concrete, Onesteel and Twin View Turf. I couldn't have done it without their support.”
Mr Jolley said he now wants to collect information about the 145 young Northern Rivers men who perished in the Great War.
"We know very little about these soldiers, but the RSL would love to have copies of their photos and information about their lives in the area prior to going to war.
"If you are related to any of these fallen diggers or could tell us about any of them, please get in contact.”
To contact the RSL with information about these fallen diggers email firstname.lastname@example.org