Mon­u­men­tal task to pre­serve past

McIvor Times - - NEWS - By THOMAS HINSS

MONUMENTS may look built to last, but even they de­cay if left out in the cold.

Such is the case with the Thomp­son Gra­ham Arnold memo­rial mon­u­ment in Heath­cote’s ceme­tery.

Moss is strewn over con­sid­er­able sec­tions of it and the plaque is al­most un­read­able, and vol­un­teer re­search of­fi­cer and pho­tog­ra­pher for Mon­u­ment Aus­tralia San­dra Brown thinks it’s about time some­thing was done about it.

She has spent the past four years find­ing, cap­tur­ing and re­search­ing monuments and memo­ri­als all over the coun­try and sees the restora­tion of this site as key to main­tain­ing the town’s his­tory.

She said that see­ing a mon­u­ment of such a prom­i­nent fig­ure in the town’s his­tory fall­ing into de­cay is a sub­stan­tial hit to its his­tory.

‘‘Thomp­son is an im­por­tant fig­ure in the town’s his­tory and his mon­u­ment fall­ing into the ne­glect it has will only lead to his his­tory and sig­nif­i­cance be­com­ing lost with it,’’ San­dra said.

‘‘A lo­cal group or or­gan­i­sa­tion should have taken care of the mon­u­ment so it didn’t fall into the con­di­tion it is in now.’’

San­dra said the in­ter­est in keep­ing these monuments stand­ing lies pri­mar­ily with the older gen­er­a­tion of cit­i­zens.

‘‘This in­ter­est from the older gen­er­a­tion is ex­pected when you con­sider that the link be­tween them and his­tor­i­cal events or fig­ures is stronger on a per­sonal level than with younger gen­er­a­tions.

‘‘Each gen­er­a­tion has their own his­tory be­ing at dif­fer­ent stages in their lives and that tends to de­ter­mine who is in­ter­ested in monuments and memo­ri­als such as this one.’’

It isn’t all doom and gloom, how­ever, as San­dra said in­ter­est in main­tain­ing his­tor­i­cal memo­ri­als and monuments has risen in re­cent times.

‘‘The cen­te­nary re­cently has sparked in­ter­est in these his­tor­i­cal sites again and re­minded peo­ple how im­por­tant they are to our his­tory.

‘‘It would be re­ally ben­e­fi­cial to the town’s his­tory if a lo­cal group or or­gan­i­sa­tion were to take this on as a project and work on main­tain­ing it and re­viv­ing it from its cur­rent con­di­tion.’’

A po­lice mag­is­trate at 22 and war­den for the McIvor District, Thomp­son Gra­ham Arnold died at the young age of 27 when he was pulling up a blind aboard a coach when a sud­den jolt saw him thrown out of it and killed.

San­dra Brown in­spects the heav­ily weath­ered plaque.

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