A place of pride in Collie

Collie Cardiff RSL Branch will be featuring a ‘Did you Know’ column in the Collie Mail once a month. The column aims to be informative about the town’s military past.

Soldiers Park Collie has social significance to the community of Collie as the focus of Anzac Day services in Collie from 1922 to the present (2019).

The park is valued for its picturesque parkland setting, which includes the Commemorative Arched Entrance Gates, leading into the honour avenue lined with mature camphor laurel trees, to the formal War Monument.

The broader grassed area of the park is bounded by mature pepper trees lining the Collie River embankment, and further camphor laurel and eucalypts along both street frontages.

The War Monument was erected in 1921 to honour Collie’s war dead from WW1, whilst the Commemorative Arch and Entrance gates were erected in 1930 to mark the centenary of European settlement in WA.

In 1990 commemorative rose gardens were included on either side of the war monument.

The rose gardens are surrounded by a concrete apron with brass plaques affixed to the apron.

The plaques list the names of Collie’s war dead from WW1, WW2, Korea and Vietnam.

The centrepiece of the east side rose garden is a granite stone memorial with a brass plaque in honour of; 3970, Cpl, 16th Infantry Battalion, Martin O’Meara VC. Martin O’Meara was working in the timber industry around Collie at the outbreak of WW1.

He applied to enlist in Collie on the 17th August 1915, aged 29 yrs. Cpl O’Meara was awarded the Victoria Cross for “Most Conspicuous Bravery” during the Battle of Pozieres, over the period 10/11/12 August 1916.

The centrepiece of the west side rose garden is a granite stone memorial with a brass plaque in honour of ‘Collie Boy’, 5/673, Pte, 3rd Battalion, RAR, Kenneth George Sketchley, Killed in Action Korea, 03 October 1950, aged 20 yrs. Pte Sketchley was the first Australian Soldier Killed in the Korean War.

At the rear of the war monument, a granite stone memorial with a brass plaque was erected in 2000.

The plaque, thought to be amongst the first in WA, commemorates Aboriginal servicemen and women who served the nation in all wars.

Collie War Monument

The Collie War Monument commemorates Collie’s Servicemen and Women who have served in all wars and conflicts.

Originally erected to commemorate the fallen from WW1, the monument is a 33 ft tall, Obelisk, sitting on a four-tiered granite stone base.

A bronze wreath and Rising Sun emblem are affixed to the middle of the monument, four Marble Plaques are affixed to the base.

The plaques are inscribed with the names of ‘Collie Boys’ killed whilst on active service during WW1 & WW2, and the Korean and Vietnam wars.

The Memorial was designed in 1921 by local Collie resident, Walter Dobson Pusey and built by Messrs Wilson, Gray & Co, at a cost of 800 pounds. The memorial was officially opened by the Governor of WA, Sir Francis Newdegate on Sunday 4 September 1921.

AWM Places of Pride Website

In 2018 the Australian War Memorial in Canberra commenced an initiative called “The Places of Pride” – National Register of War Memorials.

Across the country are thousands of memorials that stand as a reminder of the service and sacrifice Australian servicemen and women, have made for our freedom.

The AWM sought assistance from RSL Sub-Branches, schools and Shires to assist in building a website where photos of the memorials will be on display to the nation and kept forever.

The Collie Cardiff RSL Sub-Branch on behalf of the community of Collie has ensured that our ‘Soldiers Memorial Park’ is included on that website. (search: AWM Places of Pride).

The Collie Cardiff RSL Sub-Branch acknowledges the Shire of Collie for the obvious high standard of maintenance in the park surrounds.

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