Emu Plains War Memorial

 

emu plains war memorial                emu plains war memorial2

Emu Plains War Memorial (Penrith City Library Photographic Collection)


The idea of a war memorial for Emu Plains was raised at a public meeting on March 29, 1920. The meeting decided to canvas the district for promises of financial support, so that “a fair idea might be obtained as to the class of memorial it would be possible to provide.” A hall with reading room and library etc was initially considered to be preferable to a monument.

On May 8, 1920 a Memorial Fund Concert was held at Emu Hall, the first concert to be held in aid of the Soldiers Memorial Fund. On September 7, a public meeting was held to consider the matter of erecting a war memorial in connection with the local lads who fought in the war. It was decided to take steps to erect a memorial at Emu Plains. Mr W Hessell Hall MLA, expressed pleasure that the great war had finished, but stated that the war “had given the people of Emu Plains a common object, and had brought them together as nothing else could have done.” He went on to comment that since the war had ended, people had gone their own way and the “healthy social contact” had disappeared. He believed the way to see the “kindly social element preserved” was to erect a memorial hall, in a central position, in the park to be devoted to the sue of the people for social purposes, and which could form the nucleus of a future school of arts. Continuing his remarks, Mr Hall said that if a monument only were decided on, his subscription would be £1/1/ and no more! But, though he had no money to throw away, if an “earnest attempt were made to secure the memorial hall, he was prepared to contribute the sum of £50, payable in five annual instalments, or sooner if he could manage it.

It was estimated that the construction of a hall would cost at least £1200. Mr W Bunyan moved that the meeting decide for a monument. As no one was willing to move in favour of the hall, the motion to build the monument was carried. The proposed location of the monument was near the new gates in the park. Messrs W Cattell, Pye and Arthur Bunyan were to take around collecting lists and a further meeting was to be held in three weeks time to receive the report of the collectors and to decide on the form of the monument. A war trophy in the form of a captured German gun had been allocated to Emu Plains. The trustees for the gun were: Councillor S H Walker and Messrs Vic Magrath and Percy Dukes. Arrangements for the reception of the gun were the responsibility of Mr Walker and arrangements were finalised for the war trophy to be stored in the public school.

A range of fundraising activities were held. On October 2, 1920 a concert was held to augment the funds for the Soldiers Memorial. On 26 Apr, 1921 a sports and tea meeting was held at Emu Park. A range of competitions was held including: Ladies and Mens Stepping Competition, Ladies Catching the Roos, Ladies and Mens throwing at wicket, horse back events, and a cooking Compton. Over 300 people attended and £129 was raised. Funds raised by the community now exceeded £260 and it was decided that submissions of designs costing between £300-£350 would be invited. By December 1921, a tender for the erection of a trachyte obelisk on a suitable base was accepted with erection to be undertaken on a site in the park near the new entrance gates. R J Paterson was awarded the contract for the supply and erection of the memorial at a cost of £427.

In June 1923, the Soldiers’ Memorial was completed. It was described as a “fine trachyte obelisk in Egyptian design and enclosure, situated centrally in the park.” The memorial was unveiled on July 14, 1923 by Brigadier-General Cox. During his speech he praised the Memorial Committee for their endeavours adding “I have unveiled a good many memorials in NSW since I have been back, but this if the first memorial of which I have heard it given out that it is absolutely clear of debt.” He added “You have put on it for all time the names of the boys who went away from here. You know now the difference between the shirkers – the men who lagged behind – and the men who played the game.”

Forty nine names were inscribed on the memorial. The tablet on the western side recorded the names of the fallen:

“Died for King and Country”

Bernard Joseph Bruton Wilfred Walter Jones
Edwin Edward Bunyan George Love
Irwin Bunyan Robert William McGuinness
Charles Albert Clissold Reginald Donald McLean
George Albert Clissold William Hiram Mullen
C. A. Day Herbert Leslie Parkes

The northern and eastern tablets recorded the names of the returned soldiers:

George Archibald Black Victor Aubert Magrath
R. S. Bransdown A. T. Mullen
Jack Charles Bunyan W. S. Murdoch
R. L. Burton C. Paul
Reginald Cattell F. Pearce
Walter Edwin Cattell Alfred William Penfold
Frank Stanley Colless S. B. Porter
Leslie Claude Dole Francis M Sheppard
James Thomas Errington Donald Vincent G. M. Sheppard
Percivalle Alfred Thomas Dukes Harold Lesley Gray Stieme
W. H. Ellison W. A Temple
J. Elliott Bertie Clyde Wall
Bertie King Evans Darcy William Wall
Sydney Albert Evans Keith Walmsley
A. M. Hall Arthur Waters
E. V. Hall A. Willis
W. M. Hunt J. Winters
N. Jones M. M. Wood

Sources:

“Emu Plains”, Nepean Times 3 April 1920, p5 c3

“Emu Plains – Memorial Fund Concert”, Nepean Times 15 May 1920, p5, c5

“Emu Memorial Movement – A Public Meeting”, Nepean Times 11 Sep 1920, p2 c7

“Sports at Emu – a Great Success”, Nepean Times 23 April 1921, p2 c7

“Emu Plains”, Nepean Times 14 May 1921, p2 c7

“Emu Plains”, Nepean Times 17 December 1921, p5, c2

“The Soldiers of Emu Plains”, Nepean Times 14 July 1923, p5 c3-4