An Anzac memorial will be built at La Perouse to officially mark the southern end of Anzac Parade, completing a vision originally proposed 100 years ago, Randwick Council announced today.
This week (15 March 2017) marks the 100th anniversary of the naming of Anzac Parade and the official unveiling of a stone obelisk at the head of Anzac Parade in Moore Park.
At the official opening in 1917 attended by the Randwick Mayor Alderman J Fenton, the Sydney Lord Mayor Alderman Meagher said that “eventually there would be a continuous thoroughfare over six miles long from Moore Park right to the La Perouse monument”.
Randwick Councillor Tony Bowen said that this vision has never been completed.
“It came as somewhat as a surprise to me and the Council that this vision for a commemorative parade marked with two monuments dedicated to the memory of our Anzacs – including the many Indigenous soldiers – had never been completed.
“It wasn’t until Randwick resident and the daughter of an Anzac, Margaret Hope, contacted me and made a very eloquent presentation to the Council that we became aware of the lost vision.
“Margaret is an extraordinary woman who has undertaken some extensive research into the history of Anzac Parade and the missing memorial.
“I was very pleased to see Randwick Council unanimously resolve to work with our local community and construct an appropriate monument at La Perouse,” Councillor Bowen said.
Margaret’s father, Robert (Bob) William Hope was born in Petersham on 6 July 1897 and was one of thousands of Australians who enlisted for service in WWI.
“He set sail from Sydney on 9 November 1916 and served in France and Belgium. He was one of those fortunate ones who came back – one in five didn’t return,” Margaret said.
“The Anzac Obelisk was officially opened on 15 March 1917 and it is significant as being one of the earliest monuments dedicated to the role of the Anzacs of WWI, preceding the Martin Place Cenotaph (1927) and the Hyde Park War Memorial (1934).
“Prior to the opening of the major official war memorials in Sydney (1934) and Canberra (1941), the Anzac Parade Memorial Obelisk was the diggers’ own war memorial. It marked the place where many of the battalions of volunteers who left Australia to fight had marched in 1914 past the cheering crowds, on their way from the Randwick barracks to the ships.
“Unfortunately over the years the significance of Anzac Parade as a war memorial has become increasingly forgotten,” Margaret said.
“On 10 July 1917, just months after the dedication of Anzac Parade, a public meeting was held to discuss the erection of a monument at La Perouse. Despite local enthusiasm, it could not be built at that time because the State War Council decided under the War Precautions Council Act to prohibit the erection of costly memorials during wartime.
“I am very pleased that Randwick City Council under the Mayoralty of Noel D’Souza has now decided to complete this long overdue vision for Anzac Parade,” Margaret said. “I’d particularly like to thank Councillor Bowen for taking such a strong interest in this important issue.
“This is a good beginning of the vision of the Daughters of ANZAC and their Families to see the restoration and preservation of the Anzac Parade memorial corridor.
“I see this memorial as not only important for remembrance but also for education and for the inclusion of all who served particularly the many Indigenous soldiers,” Margaret said.
Randwick City Council is forming a Trust to develop concepts for the memorial. Invitations are being sent to local stakeholders including local residents the RSL Sub-Branch, La Perouse Aboriginal Land Council, the University of NSW and Randwick Barracks.