Stan­ley opens Great War me­mo­rial ro­tunda

Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - By JAMIE KRON­BORG

Par­lia­men­tar­ian Cathy McGowan (MHR, Indi) on Satur­day asked Stan­ley’s peo­ple of to­mor­row – its chil­dren – to hon­our the Great War ser­vice and sac­ri­fice in 1914-18 of 102 young men and women from Stan­ley and Hur­dle Flat. A large num­ber of fam­i­lies in the small farm­ing and tim­ber com­mu­ni­ties south-east of Beech­worth more than 100 years ago made a tremen­dous com­mit­ment to em­pire – and 23 sons did not re­turn from the vi­cious con­flict that raged in many of the world’s places. Cooper Cook, Gabriel Humphreys, Indi Sheri­dan, Han­nah and Lani Reid and Natalie Vin­cent from the near 100-strong crowd at a cer­e­mony in Stan­ley ceme­tery helped Ms McGowan open a ro­tunda in which the names of those who served and died are re­mem­bered. They were watched by ceme­tery trust chair­man Ron Leary.

PAR­LIA­MEN­TAR­IAN Cathy McGowan (MHR, Indi) on Satur­day ap­pealed to the fu­ture of Stan­ley – its chil­dren – to help her open a vil­lage ceme­tery ro­tunda in which the ser­vice of peo­ple from the past can be re­mem­bered.

She asked for the young­sters among a near 100-strong crowd in the pic­turesque, ru­ral grave­yard to come for­ward and join her to cut the rib­bon at a me­mo­rial to those from Stan­ley and Hur­dle Flat who served in the Great War 1914-18.

The two com­mu­ni­ties, not far from one another on the rolling plateau be­yond Beech­worth, gave 102 men and women to the ser­vice of em­pire. Twenty-three did not re­turn. It was salient for Ms McGowan. “Peo­ple will come to this ro­tunda and think about those early days and the courage and the en­ergy of our com­mu­ni­ties – not only in go­ing to fight, but in build­ing mem­o­ries like this and creat­ing ceme­ter­ies like this, and in fight­ing the fights that this com­mu­nity fights to keep (it) strong, which I know it does,” she said.

“I wanted to say how im­por­tant it is to know that the Great War just didn’t hap­pen 100 years ago.

“Every sin­gle one of us has to be vig­i­lant and pay at­ten­tion to the virtues of courage, to per­sis­tence, to fight­ing the fight.

“You may not be called to go to (war), but it’s just as im­por­tant that we do the fight­ing here in Stan­ley and Beech­worth, as I have to do Can­berra.

“Be­cause if we don’t (fight) (then what we want) won’t hap­pen.”

Ms McGowan said Stan­ley’s was an “en­gaged com­mu­nity”.

“It’s a place of com­mu­nity in­volve­ment, com­mu­nity vi­sion, com­mu­nity get­ting to­gether to do things – this ro­tunda, the hon­our board, the ceme­tery and all the cars (here today) epit­o­mise that,” she said.

“Then there’s the fire brigade, so­cial group, hall com­mit­tee, Stan­ley Plateau Cho­rus and a huge num­ber of peo­ple who have got to­gether to make today pos­si­ble. “It would not have hap­pened with­out you. “It’s a com­mu­nity that builds ro­tun­das, that re­mem­bers its his­tory and then plans the fu­ture, so that our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren can ac­tu­ally stand for and be elected a mem­ber of par­lia­ment.”

Ms McGowan said re­mem­brance of the past and recog­ni­tion of the chal­lenges ahead made for a com­mu­nity that was “so strong and so en­gaged and so pow­er­ful”.

The ro­tunda, in which the names of all from Stan­ley and Hur­dle Flat who served in the Great War have been recorded com­pletely for the first time, was built with a $10,400 An­zac cen­te­nary com­mu­nity grant from the Vic­to­ria’s Pre­mier’s Depart­ment, more than $1800 from the Stan­ley Ceme­tery Trust and $5000 from the Foun­da­tion for Ru­ral and Re­gional Re­newal.

In­digo Shire Coun­cil also con­trib­uted $500 and Beech­worth and Dis­trict Com­mu­nity Bank gave $1014.

Beech­worth Re­turned and Ser­vices league sub-branch president Bren­dan Honey, who at­tended the cer­e­mony with John Eldrid, said the ro­tunda was more than a build­ing.

“As we ded­i­cate this ro­tunda to the mem­ory of Stan­ley’s World War I fallen, it is ap­pro­pri­ate that we re­mem­ber the sac­ri­fice made by th­ese 23 and the im­pact that their loss made not just on their fam­i­lies but on this com­mu­nity as a whole,” he said.

“I be­lieve that memo­ri­als such as this are im­por­tant to com­mu­nity, as they are an on­go­ing re­minder to us of the sac­ri­fice made by th­ese men and our duty to en­sure that their names are not for­got­ten.”

The Stan­ley Plateau Cho­rus per­formed songs from the Great War and Ge­of­frey Fryer led a poignant ren­di­tion of Eric Bogle’s ‘And the band played ‘Waltz­ing Matilda’’.

Tea and An­zac bis­cuits were served af­ter the cer­e­mony.

PHOTO: Jamie Kron­borg

POIGNANT: Ge­of­frey Fryer sings with Chris Brett, Gina Kromer and other singers of the Stan­ley Plateau Cho­rus per­form Eric Bogle’s ‘And the band played ‘Waltz­ing Matilda’’ at the Stan­ley ro­tunda cer­e­mony.

SKILLED: Cho­rus singers Gwen Smith, Carol Brett, Carol Leary and Gaynor Kirk­house with direc­tor He­len McAlpine at the cer­e­mony.

MEM­ORY: Knit­ted Flan­ders’ pop­pies hang from the ro­tunda rail­ing in hon­our of the 102 Stan­ley and Hur­dle Flat men and women who served in the Great War. PHOTOS: Jamie Kron­borg

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