War memo­rial now un­der­way

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - East Victoria Park - Michele Nu­gent

WITH an es­ti­mated to­tal cost of $200,000, Vic­to­ria Park RSL’s long-awaited memo­rial wall is fi­nally un­der con­struc­tion at Play­field Park.

To date, the sub-branch has raised about $180,000 but more pledges are desperately needed as it must re­pay a $100,000 loan to the Town of Vic­to­ria Park, which has also do­nated $50,000 to the wor­thy cause.

Pres­i­dent Kelvin Lid­di­ard said a $50,000 grant from the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment’s Anzac Cen­te­nary Lo­cal Grants Pro­gram an­nounced by Swan MHR Steven Irons on Thurs­day had added to a $25,000 Lot­tery­west grant re­ceived late last year for the project.

The curved brick wall will be fin­ished – com­plete with bronze plaques for the names of more than 400 from the Town who served in World War I – by April 25 in time for Anzac Day and the 100th an­niver­sary of the Gal­lipoli land­ings.

Mr Lid­di­ard said the memo­rial wall was par­tic­u­larly sig­nif­i­cant be­cause Vic­to­ria Park was one of only a few main re­cruit­ing cen­tres for the Great War.

“In those days – only 13 years after fed­er­a­tion in Jan­uary 1901 – the Aus­tralian Army was made up purely of vol­un­teers. It didn’t have a reg­u­lar army,” Mr Lid­di­ard said.

“Vic­to­ria Park was set up as a ma­jor re­cruit­ing cen­tre, like Kal­go­or­lie, Fre­man­tle and Mos­man Park. From there, men went to Black­boy Hill in Green­mount for train­ing Black­boy Hill was .“the birth­place of the Aus­tralian Im­pe­rial Force in WA and more than 32,000 men trained at the camp be­fore head­ing off to war.

“This wall will hon­our all the men who were born in, or lived in the en­vi­rons of Vic­to­ria Park at their time of en­list­ment. Many, of course, did not re­turn from the cat­a­strophic war that took the lives of more than 61,000 Aus­tralians.”

He said among the names on the wall would be Vic­to­ria Park’s first mayor, Cap­tain Robert Thomp­son McMaster, who died aged 50 in the fruit­less bat­tle of The Nek at Gal­lipoli on Au­gust 7, 1915.

“McMaster, de­signer and ar­chi­tect of the Vic­to­ria Park Ho­tel, was among seven of­fi­cers and 73 men from the 10th Light Horse killed at the bat­tle and later graph­i­cally por­trayed at the cli­max of Peter Weir’s 1981 film, Gal­lipoli,” Mr Lid­di­ard said

“Mem­bers of the still­promi­nent Devenish fam­ily also fought and died. Arthur Lancelot Devenish was killed on April 25, 1915 at Gal­lipoli while brothers Charles Row­land Devenish and George Fred­er­ick Devenish sur­vived.”

The sub-branch also re­ceived a $9814 Veteran and Com­mu­nity Grant pro­gram from the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment last week. It will use this for a fridge, an out­door bar­be­cue kitchen and fur­ni­ture.

In­spect­ing the work on the new war memo­rial: Vic­to­ria Park RSL pres­i­dent Kelvin Lid­di­ard, Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans’ Af­fairs com­mu­nity support of­fi­cer Fergus Beer, Lot­tery­west’s Lucy Reynolds, RSLWA chief ex­ec­u­tive Phil Or­chard, Town of Vic­to­ria Park act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Nathan Cain, Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans’ Af­fairs com­mu­nity support of­fi­cer Gabby Ryan and Vic­to­ria Park RSL vice-pres­i­dent Trevor Free­stone.

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