EPPING DEDICATION OF MONUMENT
Epping’s Boronia Park Cenotaph’s new bronze monument was unveiled by Sub-Branch President John Curdie OAM and Parramatta Council’s Pierre Esber on Sunday and dedicated by Rev John Candy following the grand parade from Epping RSL Community Club’s Anzac Sunday Service with catafalque party from 322 Squadron AAF Cadet Corps.
Official guests included Epping MP Damien Tudehope, Bennelong MP John Alexander OAM, Lorraine Wearne and John Haines AM.
Eastwood Marsfield scout Cooper Patmann read the Scripture from John 15, verses 9-14 at the Club service. TWT on-the-spot PHOTOS.
Anzac celebrations at Epping was a very special occasion with the unveiling of WW 1 Digger Bronze Statue at Boronia Park Epping.
Sub-Branch President John Curdie says: This project has been on the agenda of the Epping RSL Sub-Branch for over 2 years. It started as a concept, that it should be unveiled in the centenary Year of the formation of the RSL 2016 and to commemorate events of the centenary of the 4-year period 2014 to 2018.
This project was conceived to be one in which we honour the sacrifices by young Australians in the horrific events of that World War of 1914 to 1918. By such dedication, the veterans and members of the Epping RSL sub Branch demonstrate their gratitude of our forebears. Validating our community’s appreciation of the sacrifices that were endured in their service to their nation and to our future. Such a project would also be recalling the centenary of the welfare services and community support of Returned and Services League which was also formed during those years of World War 1 in 1916 and as a result of the suffering endured by so many of those that volunteered to do their duty and remembering their mates that did not come home.
Resulting from extensive discussions within the sub-Branch, the concept of a bronze statue of a World War 1 digger was identified as the feature for the centre piece of our remembrance area and the focus of our cenotaph. It was planned to be opened in August last year to coincide more precisely with the diary of events of the RSL in it ‘s centenary celebrations.
At the Anzac Breakfast in 2015 Councillor for Lachlan Ward of the Parramatta City Council, Pierre Esber, and from a fund that the council had set aside for community projects, presented from that funding an amount of $25000 conditional upon it being used on improvements to the Remembrance area or cenotaph.
This allocation of funds now focused the sub branch on its ambition to build the statue and also for the sub branch to find any shortfall in the funding of this project.
Then followed extensive consultation on its design, supply, construction and expecially the funding of any short fall that would be encountered.
For many years, the Epping RSL sub-Branch has always enjoyed a close working relationship with the City of Parramatta Council who have supported the RSL in its many ceremonial services and community based projects as well as the maintenance and the ongoing refurbishment and expansion of t his Cenotaph Area in Boronia Park.
The sub-Branch having appreciated the many years of a close working relationship, sought the assistance of Neville Davis Service Manager Open Space & Natural Resources with whom to talk through the detail of concept.
With Neville’s administrative facilities within the Parramatta Council and his contacts with so many sub-contractors the sub Branch was supportive of the day to day administration of the project be left to him.
As sub Branch President I was grateful of the assistance of Vice President Brian Swan who for the last past 12 months has taken sub branch responsibilities and duties of coordinating the works, working with the council on the many details and supervising its delivery and construction.
The sub Branches program of funding the short fall of this program had various twists and turns, along the way, which collectively, prevented the August 2016 the planned dead line of August 2016 being achieved.
It was not until late last year, when funding had been secured design details were properly in place that the program really could commence.
The existing single sandstone column that stood upon the old sandstone plinth has been part of the history of this area. This column was the centre piece of the original cenotaph and was originally set in 1998. You may well recall that this single sandstone column stood for many years alone in the original garden setting. As the years have gone on the area has been improved till now surrounded with monument walls accessed by a memorial pathway and up till today that column at the centre of the and focus of the area.
To maintain the connection with our history, the original cenotaph column has been resighted just at the rear of the new sandstone plinth and statue thus preserving a connection with the past and memory of other times when we have gathered here for a wreath laying service.
The Administrator of the Parramatta City Council, Amanda Chadwick, was not able to attend but sent this message:
Epping RSL Sub-branch Anzac Sunday Service
Message from City of Parramatta Administrator, Amanda Chadwick
Every year, we gather to commemorate Anzac Day and exactly what it means to us as a nation and as individuals. It is not to celebrate or glorify war, but rather to remember all those who have served our country during conflict and crisis.
These sailors, soldiers and airmen and women, fight on behalf of all of the people of Australia, and in many cases paid t he supreme price.
In many cases, particularly in that First World War, they were fighting for a country that was not theirs by birth or even by citizenship, for many had been born overseas and were Australian by immigration.
Anzac Day is therefore a day for all Australians, regardless of race, religion or place of birth.
Through the actions of these men and women, we have inherited an enduring legacy of a free and peaceful nation built on the spirit of the ANZACS, and their qualitites of courage, mateship and sacrifice.
City of Parramatta Council also recognises the Returned and Services League of Australia, and its many sub-Branches, for their vigilance in caring for and commemorating all of Australia’s Defence Force personnel.
Council has been proud to partner with the Epping sub-Branch to duly commemorate the sacrifice of many Australians in World War 1 and the founding of the Returned and Services League of Australia in 1916.
Together, Council and Epping sub-Branch, will unveil and dedicate a bronze World War 1 soldier, as a tribute to the history and heroism of Australia’s bravest.
It is an honour and privilege for Council to be a part of this project, as it remembers and pays respect to those who have served our nation.
The bronze figure is also an addition to the memorial that will inspire and strengthen national pride. It ensures that this continues to be a place of peace and contemplation, where the community can reflect on the sacrifices of the men and women who have served, and those who still serve.
As we gather, and through this statue, we pay tribute to all current and former members of the Australian Defence Force, those lost in training, on operations, the wounded, injured and ill.
Lest We Forget.
Good morning, my name is Sophie Watson and I am a school captain at Gladesville public school. My dad is Australian and my mum is New Zealand and so I represent both countries in the ANZAC cor.
We are gathered here today to take time to think about the brave soldiers who put their lives at risk to protect those who needed it, and whose that gave their lives in service for their country.
To me, Anzac Day is a day where we remember the original Anzacs, the soldiers who fought at Gallipoli in 1915. I can’t imagine what it would be like having to travel on a boat for many months to a faraway country, preparing to fight in a war and not knowing what to expect. They must have been very brave.
I can remember my mum and dad taking me to watch my great grandfather, Gordon Watson, march in the Anzac parade in the city. He served in Papua New Guinea as a signalman in world war two, he was fortunate to survive unlike many others. Although he is no longer with us we expecially remember him on Anzac Day. I’m wearing his medals today which recognise his service in the pacific during world war two.
We are standing here today in remembrance and respect for the soldiers who left their families and gave up everything to fight for us. I hope we never forget what all soldiers have done for us and our countries.
The sub Branch has also enjoyed extensive support from the Member for Epping, Damien Tudehope MP. Damien has always been a strong supporter of the veteran community in Epping and is regularly involved in the activities of the veteran community and the members of the Epping RSL sub-Branch.
Following the significant setback to funding the short fall the sub Branch experienced last year, Damien Tudehope undertook this challenge to see what could be achieved. Since that time, he has been working with the State Premiers Department and recently, has been able to obtain, for the sub Branch, a grant from the New South Wales Government of $21,500.
Such a grant has meant that sub Branch could meet its half share in the costs of this project. For this effort by The Member for Epping, in sourcing such a generous donation, the members and veterans of the sub-Branch are extremely appreciative.
I should also express the sub-Branch appreciation of t he Boart of Directors and members of the Epping Club who have also supported the sub Branch in bringing this project to its success. The Epping Club as part of its community support program, have allocated funds which have been applied to the provision of a security system, which is now in operation.
Such a system will assist in maintaining the integrity of this special area, this remembrance area is a space of peace and quiet, that is available for all who pass by, to enjoy and pause to remember and reflect upon our history and the sacrifices of our forebears.
Pierre Esber representing the administrator Amanda Chadwick of the Parramatta City Council and Damien Tudehope MP, Member for Epping on behalf of the New South Wales Government both of whom have been long-time supporters of the Veterans of the district and of the Epping district and this Sub branch assisted Sub-Branch President John Curie in the unveiling of our Bronzed Aussie World War 1 soldier standing at Arms reversed. It is time to show him to the world. A figure which will become an element the Epping District. He will become the focus of this wreath laying service today and future ceremonial occasions here at the Cenotaph in Boronia Park.