2020 marks 75 years since the end of the Second World War. To commemorate this important year, the NSW Government is interviewing WWII veterans about their experiences. Read our 75th Anniversary Stories.
Hewn from surrounding bush sandstone by 5756 Pte. W. T. Shirley as a memorial to his fallen comrades in the Australian Imperial Force (A.I.F.), the Sphinx is approximately 1/8th the size of the Great Sphinx, located on Egypt’s Giza Plateau.
Pte. William Shirley sailed to war in January 1916 and served with the 13th Btn A.I.F. (the “Two Blues” – as a result of the Battalion’s two tone blue colour patch). Upon returning to NSW, he was a patient at the Lady Davidson Convalescent Hospital for returned Australian First World War veterans. Like many of his comrades at Lady Davidson, he suffered from gas inflicted during the fierce battles on the Western Front, with the added complications of a tuberculosis infection.
Between 1926-1928, an ailing Shirley laboured at creating his personal memorial to his fallen comrades. The Sphinx took some one and a half years to complete. He died in 1929, leaving an unusual legacy in stone to be contemplated by the many bushwalkers who enjoy the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
The memorial is located near the North Turramurra Gate and the Lady Davidson Private Hospital.
To my glorious comrades
of the A.I.F by the late
No 5756 Pte. 13th Battalion
Died 27th August 1928
This memorial, following restoration,
was rededicated on the 9th November 1995,
in recognition of the selflessness and sacrifices
of the members of the A.I.F.
Lest we forget.
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