Austinmer Soldiers' Memorial

Location: 

Located at the southern end of Austinmer Beach, next to the Austinmer Surf Life Saving Club on Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Austinmer NSW 2015.

Dedication: 
Tuesday, February 28, 1922
Details: 

The history and records contained within this file have been gathered from government war records, local Council records, early photographs and knowledge from earlier Sub Branch members and residents of Austinmer in an attempt to preserve the history and details surrounding the Memorial. This site is designed to present and preserve the military history of the ANZACs engraved on this memorial. The research has shown that a number of anomalies which were:
Chapman, W. Killed in Action
Stanley, G. Killed in Action
Both names have been engraved on the Honor Roll as having served.

Speirs, J. Has been engraved incorrectly on the memorial.

Every attempt has been made to ensure the records and history is a true and accurate recording of the events contained within this data file. The original World War I Memorial was in need of restoration for the centenary of ANZAC and both Federal and State governments provided funding for this work. The students from Holy Spirit College researched the names inscribed on the memorial and through the efforts of these students and teachers we have been able to pay honor to those ANZACs names you see engraved on this memorial.
The restoration work was completed in February 2014 and the memorial was rededicated during the Remembrance Day Service 2014.

At the end of the First World War in 1918 Austinmer residents began to raise funds to construct a memorial for all those who served and those who paid the extreme sacrifice to defend our country.
Raffles were run and some donations were made and a total of 245 pounds was raised thanks to the efforts of residents. Mrs Coffey, Mrs Lett, and Mrs Cheadle were but a few of the residents related to our service men killed in action who participated in fundraising.

The names on the memorial are those from the surrounding towns; south to Bulli and north to Coledale.
In January 1922, the memorial was completed and dedicated. The original site was in the centre of Austinmer beach, as shown on the attached photograph which was taken on the day and shows some of the residents present at the unveiling. They are from right to left: Mr Don Lett, Mr John Coffey, Mrs Coffey and Mrs Lett (photo supplied by Mr Noel Pickering, formerly of 41 The Grove, Austinmer – who as a child, attended this dedication). The memorial has since been relocated to its present position (not quite sure when it was relocated – but it was in the late 1930s).

Around 1988, against the wishes of the sub-branch founding members John Mills, Jock McQuire and Danny Timmins, the memorial had the WW2 1939-1945, Korean and Vietnam Wars inscribed onto it.
In 1999, the first ANZAC Day plaque and plinth, and timber fence was added to the memorial surrounds by the Austinmer sub-branch and Wollongong City Council. Noel Pickering was the author of the words to describe the action of that first ANZAC Day so it would not be forgotten. Barry Navin (President), Noel Pickering (Custodian of the memorial) and George (Bob) Cheadle (Grandson of G Cheadle, who was killed in action) unveiled the plaque.

After 20 plus years as Custodian of the memorial, Noel Pickering retired from the position and in 2001, Joe McGarity was appointed.
In 2002, the World War 2 bronze plaque was placed on the Eastern side of the WW1 memorial. Keith Woodward (Woody from the Thirroul sub-branch) laid the plinth and Mike Lewins co-ordinated the work. Joe McGarity installed the security spot lighting in 2003. In 2007, the paving blocks and timber bollards with chains replaced the timber fence. This work was carried out by Council and the sub-branch with supervision and design carried out by Joe McGarity.

With the Centenary of ANZAC 2015 upon us, both Federal and State Governments provided grants for the restoration of WW1 memorials, and the sub-branch obtained $14,000 for this purpose. A contract was awarded to Heritage Memorial Stonemasons, only after lengthy discussions with Wollongong Council and the NSW Heritage Council, who has then accepted our new design using granite (moss green) plinth and bollards to replace the aging sandstone and wooden bollards. This enabled a life extension of another 100 years of the memorial.
Work was commenced in mid-February and completed well ahead of schedule and in time for the 2014 ANZAC Dawn Service. Documents relating the names placed during the construction of the memorial in 1922 were not located during the rectification work.

Lest We Forget

Joseph McGarity - Author

Those Listed: 

North Side

Bell, J.F.
Bell, H
Bradbury, A
Bourke, C
Cheadle, A.A.
Chapman, W
Curran, F
Dent, REV. O.G
Ferguson, E
Halliday, G.S
Jones, M.W
Latham, G.S

East Side

Mathers, A
Owens, P
Pratt, G.W. M.M & Bar
Rowe, L
Ross, E
Rhodden, W
Strachan, C.A
Spiers, J
Stanley, G
Todd, J
Williams, C.W
Williams, E

South Side – Killed in Action

Cheadle, G
Curran, J.J
Hill, R
Lett, J.M

Images: 

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