Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Cranbourne War Memorial

There had been discussions from at least 1920 onwards as to the most fitting memorial to honour the men from the Cranbourne area who served in the First World War. Early suggestions were for the construction of a Soldiers Memorial Hall. An article in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal on November 11, 1920 reported on a Cranbourne Shire meeting. The Mechanics' Hall committee suggested the erection of a building which would provide accomodation for Lodges and other community groups as well as having a Library and a Billiard room. This would provide a place for 'boys to go for recreation at night'. Some objection was made to having a Mechanics' Institute as a memorial to soldiers, though apparently that had been done in other places. Another sticking point seemed to be that a new hall would be in competition to the existing Shire Hall - so this issue was put aside for a few years - in fact it wasn't until 1929 that a meeting decided to erect a memorial in the form of an obelisk.

The Argus Saturday, May 25, 1929, page 28

Perhaps due to the Depression, things moved slowly and in June 1938 I found another reference from The Argus regarding the war memorial, see below.

The Argus Wednesday, June 8, 1938, page 14

The Memorial was erected in June 1939, as another article in The Argus reported, see below.

The Argus Saturday, June 10, 1939, page 4

The Memorial was officially unveiled on August 27, 1939, ironically only about a week before Australia was once more at War, as it was on September 3 that the Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, announced we were at war with Germany. The picture, above, is from the Cranbourne Shire Historical Society collection.

The Argus Tuesday August 29 1939, page 10

As you can see by the picture of the unveiling the the War Memorial, plus the one of the Shire Offices, above, the obelisk was originally located close to the corner of Sladen Street and the South Gippsland Highway. It was later hit by a car and moved at some time, possibly 1953, further west along Sladen Street, as seen in this 1988 picture, below. It was relocated again to its current location in Greg Clydesdale Square in 1991.

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