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Balgownie War Memorial

Balgownie War Memorial
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Balgownie War Memorial, front from an angle
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Balgownie War Memorial, front
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Description / Background

The Balgownie War Memorial is a large stone monument, most likely constructed of Trachyte. It has a vertical name panel on the front face and is decorated with incised laurel wreaths on the left and right sections of the structure.

The memorial was unveiled on 26 April 1930, 10 years after the original plans of 1919 failed to eventuate (Illawarra Mercury, 29 April 1930).

It was moved to its current location, the triangle park adjoining its original site, in 1954. The move was discussed in the South Coast Times and Wollongong Argus on 2 August. The article noted the cost was estimated at £260 and was provided for in the 1955 estimates. The move had been planned for 1953 but did not take place. 

The memorial was re-dedicated on 5 November 2005. The below is an excerpt from the re-dedication service booklet, pp. 9–10:

After a Wollongong Anzac Day ceremony in 1928, a prominent Balgownie resident, Mr H. R. Murdoch, thought a memorial in Balgownie was essential and formed a small committee to commence the project. Over the next two years, the community was consulted, plans were drawn and funds were raised. Then, on April 26 1930, the Balgownie War Memorial was unveiled.

What makes the Balgownie War Memorial special is the fact it was constructed from funds raised by locals at a time when things were very tough. Balgownie was a mining community and they suffered very hard financially due to events that eventually resulted in the 'Great Depression' of 1929. There was little work and money and no social security but through this period, the people of Balgownie would still donate money to the memorial fund.

As Dr John McQuilton, historian and lecturer at Wollongong University commented in 2003: "Local memorials had another purpose which is now often forgotten. At the start of the war in 1914, the government decided that the men who died could not be brought home for burial. They would be buried where they fell ... The only things that the families of men killed in battle had to remind them of their men killed in battle were the personal effects returned to them ... But one essential element was missing. These families were denied the rituals that come with death and play an important part in coping with grief. There was no church service with a coffin and there was no grave. The vast majority of Australians who had lost a son, a brother, a fiancée, or husband knew that they would never be able to visit the grave that marked the last resting place of a loved one. The cost of a trip to Europe or Turkey was beyond the means of most Australians. The war memorials therefore became the graves and cemeteries of those lost which they could visit at will."

The below is a personal comment from Mark Edwell, 2014:

As part of the Balgownie War Memorial rededication in 2005, a Remembrance Tree was planted to honour the soldiers on the Balgownie War Memorial who did not return. The tree is located at the eastern entrance to the Balgownie War Memorial Park. Michael Delhaas from Balgownie journeyed to the relevant battlefields in France and Belgium and gathered soil from almost all the graves of those on the memorial, who never returned, and through the Australian Embassy, arranged for the necessary documentation to allow the soil to be brought into Australia. That very soil lies under the abovementioned tree, which makes it an integral part of the memorial.

The memorial was restored around 2014, with assistance from an Anzac Centenary Local Grant. 

Inscription

In Remembrance
1914–1919

Our Glorious Dead 

Brownlie D.,  Burling A., Clout P., Compton J., Cram J., Devers P., Fraser D., Gemmell W., Gill.G, Gough J., Green J., Kenning J., Madden, F., McMahqn F., McMahon P., North T., Popple G., Reid J., Scott W., Sharples J., Thomson C., Thompson J., Wheeler J.

These Also Served

Nurse A. Thompson; Adie W.,  Allison T.,  Applebee L., Ashmore J., Baker G., Baker. .T., Barrett B., Batey T., Bloomfield W., Brett W., Campbell W., Clarkson T., Cook D., Cowie A., Cowie D., Crowther J., Davies P., Davies W., Dawson C., Dawson J., Dawson W., Devers J., Duncan A., Easterbrook C., Edgar J., Edwards A., Eshman A., Fielding A., Findley A., Findley J., Findley M., Foster C., Fraser H.,  Furner W., Gavin J., Gemmell , A., Gemmell J., Harris. D., Harris R., Hayman E., Hayman W., Heslop A., Heslop J., Hird R., Hooper W., Hunter A., Hunter P.,: James E., Kenning T., Kirkwood, W.. (Dr.) Lithgow T., Lithgow W., Lucock A., Lucock J., Madden W., Masters J., McDonald J., McMahon J., Moorhouse E., Murray H. Murray W., Nicholls J., North W., Parker J., Potter P., Potter T., Price W., Rae A., Rae J., Ridley A., Russell J., Ryan M., Selwyn F., Sherman E., Sherman O., Simpson  J., Smith C., Smith E., Soldi F., Stafford E., Stevenson T., Taylor P., Ward G., Weeks S., Whitbread L., Woods R.,  Young J.

Veterans listed on this memorial

Last held rank Given name Family name Conflict/s Service No. Service Campaign Read more
W Adie World War 1 view
T Allison World War 1 view
L Applebee World War 1 view
J Applemore World War 1 view
G Baker World War 1 view
T Baker World War 1 view
B Barrett World War 1 view
T Batey World War 1 view
W Bloomfield World War 1 view
W Brett World War 1 view

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Address
Balgownie War Memorial Park
Cnr Balgownie Road and Para Street
Balgownie NSW 2519
Local Government Area
Wollongong, City of
Setting
Garden/park
Location status
Moved/altered
Memorial type
Cenotaph
Recorded by
Wollongong City Council. Mount Ousley Public School.
Year of construction
1930
Dedication date
26 April 1930
Conflict/s
First World War, 1914–18
Materials
Other