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William Thompson Masonic Schools Second World War and Vietnam Memorial

William Thompson Masonic Schools Second World War and Vietnam Memorial
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William Thompson Masonic Schools Second World War and Vietnam Memorial, in garden setting
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William Thompson Masonic Schools Second World War and Vietnam Memorial
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William Thompson Masonic Schools Second World War and Vietnam Memorial, close-up of plaque
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William Thompson Masonic Schools Second World War and Vietnam Memorial, in garden setting
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William Thompson Masonic Schools Second World War and Vietnam Memorial, back of monument and circular wall
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William Thompson Masonic Schools Second World War and Vietnam Memorial, in garden setting
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William Thompson Masonic Schools Second World War and Vietnam Memorial, nearby hospital monument
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William Thompson Masonic Schools Second World War and Vietnam Memorial, nearby hospital monument
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William Thompson Masonic Schools Second World War and Vietnam Memorial, nearby hospital monument
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William Thompson Masonic Schools Second World War and Vietnam Memorial, old memorial on display
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William Thompson Masonic Schools Second World War and Vietnam Memorial, old memorial on display
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Archival image: William Thompson Masonic Schools Second World War and Vietnam Memorial prior to 2022 refurbishment
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Archival image: William Thompson Masonic Schools Second World War and Vietnam Memorial prior to 2022 refurbishment
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Description / Background

This William Thompson Masonic Schools Second World War and Vietnam Memorial records the names of the 18 ex-pupils who attended the Masonic Schools and made the supreme sacrifice during the Second World War and one ex-pupil who served in the Vietnam War. 

The memorial is positioned in the centre of a 20 foot (6m) diameter circular area. It is made of polished granite and is surrounded with a garden of rosemary. It measures 1.5m tall, 2m long, and 1.5m wide. It is surrounded by four identical granite posts, 20cm square by 86cm high and connected by chain.

On one side of the memorial, is an honour roll for the Second World War and Vietnam. Engraved into the polished granite base of the memorial are the words ‘Lest we forget’. On the reverse side, etched into the granite are the years from1939 to 1945.

The memorial is located at the end of a pathway approximately 110 feet (33m) long and 5 feet (1.5m) wide. The path starts near the school's administrative office and a commemorative monument for the 103rd Australian General Hospital (see below). There are five steps at the start and then the path proceeds on a slight decline through an open grassed area. 

The original memorial was dedicated and unveiled on 8 November 1947, with 18 names engraved on it, highlighted with gold paint. It was relocated to the Masonic Centre in Sydney when the 78.6 hectares of land was sold to the Baulkham Hills Shire Council in 1973. Inspection of the old memorial at the Masonic Centre, shows an additional name (C. M. Wood KIA 7 July 1944) from the Second World War was added after the dedication in 1947 and omitted from the new memorial. The Vietnam veteran was added after his death in June 1970 on both memorials.

This memorial received a major injection of funds, which were used for upgrades. The refurbished memorial was opened for inspection on 29 June 2022.

Additional information is available from:

  • The Masonic Centre in Sydney.
  • The Hills District Historical Society Inc.
  • The Hills Shire Council.
  • ‘A Start in Life’ The History of the William Thompson Masonic School 1922–1988 by Beverley Earnshaw. The book was published by The William Thompson Masonic School Council 1988. National Library of Australia Catalogue Card Number and ISBN 0 7426 3333 4.

About the 103rd Australian General Hospital and the commemorative monument:

On 26 January 1942, correspondence was received from Colonel A. M. McIntosh (D.D.S.M.) Deputy Director of Army Medical Services Base Headquarters, Eastern Command, requesting if the William Thompson Masonic School buildings and site could be made available to the Army as a General Hospital for the duration of the Second World War. The first forty soldiers occupied the buildings on 17 February 1943. Under the threat of invasion in 1943, the 103rd Australian General Hospital (AGH) was to provide for 1,200 patients and staff.

The school site was handed back to the Masonic Lodge in 1947. The official reopening took place on 8 November 1947, with estimates of 10,000 people in attendance. A commemorative monument recording the occupation of the school by the Australian Army was then consecrated and unveiled.

The monument features gold lettering and is positioned to one side of a grassed circular garden area near the school's administrative block, with a palm tree in the centre and the flagpole behind. The area is surrounded by shrubbery and the roadway is lined with palm trees, watsonias, hibiscus, bottle brush, cyprus trees, and various other plants.

The tablet is made of granite and is approximately 3 feet 9 inches (140cm) long by 2 feet 8 inches (810cm) high. Its base is approximately 12 inches (30cm) wide tapering to 5 inches (13cm) at the top. It sits on a concrete slab 4 feet (144cm) long by 2 feet (61cm) wide and 4 ½ inches (11.5cm) thick, with further foundations of unknown size under the slab of concrete.

Inscription

Monument plaque

Have in honour all you who pass by the sons of this school who fought and fell in the Second World War 1939–1945

Roll of Honour
[Names]

Vietnam
[Name]

Base of monument

Lest We Forget

Back of monument

1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945 

Circular wall

Steps of Time ... perpetual vigilance and commitment born by sacrifice, lives on and grows as each layer of time is placed upon it

Have in honour all you who pass by the sons of this school who fought and fell in the Second World War

Hospital monument

This tablet is to commemorate the occupation of the Masonic Schools by The Australian Military Forces as 103rd Australian General Hospital 1942–1945.

Veterans listed on this memorial

Last held rank Given name Family name Conflict/s Service No. Service Campaign Read more
Sgt C Cornwell World War 2 402731 RAAF England view
Sgt C Cornwell World War 2 402731 RAAF England view
L/Sto HW Cox World War 2 21967 RAN Indian Ocean view
L/Sto HW Cox World War 2 21967 RAN Indian Ocean view
F/Sgt AJ Davey World War 2 413357 RAAF Germany view
F/Sgt AJ Davey World War 2 413357 RAAF Germany view
Pte SW Dickson Vietnam 2792089 RAR Vietnam view
Pte SW Dickson Vietnam 2792089 RAR Vietnam view
Sgt JW Gill World War 2 15186 RAAF Bay of Biscay view
Sgt JW Gill World War 2 15186 RAAF Bay of Biscay view

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Address
Balcombe Heights Estate
Cnr Seven Hills and Jasper Road
Baulkham Hills NSW 2153
Local Government Area
The Hills Shire
Setting
Garden/park
Location status
Moved/altered
Memorial type
Monument
Recorded by
Ronald L McIntosh
Year of construction
1947
Conflict/s
Second World War, 1939–45
Vietnam War, 1962–75
Materials
Granite