Reconstructing the past and looking for final home
IT WAS erected by a small grateful town in 1922, a memorial to their own lost in the Great War and now a group of locals are battling to have the Woolgoolga Soldiers Memorial restored to its original state.
Memorial Restoration Group member Geoff Morrow said a grant from the NSW Government would go a long way towards getting the memorial back together in time for its centenary in 2022.
Mr Morrow, whose grandfather was the town's blacksmith from the late 1800s up until 1908, said the memorial was "an important part of the town's history" and many of those mentioned on the memorial still had family living in the area.
"We've spent 10 years looking after the stones. We have had them surveyed by a stone mason and they are in really good nick," he said.
"It's part of Woolgoolga's history.
"It was to commemorate the Woolgoolga locals after World War I. It was built by the local community with their own money and this and that."
He said as a small town it took them until 1922 to get the money together and build it, the only memorial in the town back then. It was then officially gazetted in 1923.
While the grant is now in place to put it back together - after it had to be moved a decade ago - and there are plenty of volunteers in the community to make it happen, Geoff said what they really needed now was somewhere to put it.
"We've got to get the council to allocate us a couple of square metres so we can bring it totally back to its original glory," he said, adding that until then they were "treading water".
Member for Coffs Gurmesh Singh said the one-of-a-kind memorial was one of the few surviving 1920s historical objects in the region and was worth saving.
"This $4500 in funding means the memorial will be reconstructed and restored to its original condition so it can be enjoyed by our community for years to come," he said.
Minister for Veterans John Sidoti said the Woolgoolga Soldiers Memorial was one of 20 projects across the state to receive funding from the NSW Government to repair, protect and preserve community war memorials.
"These war memorials have significant heritage value as places that embody our respect for those who have served Australia," Mr Sidoti said.