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Atherton War Memorial (Digger)

Description

It is a handsome sandstone monument with a life-sized statue of a soldier on a tall pedestal with an octagonal base. The statue is in an aggressive pose, striding forwards with raised arm, wearing tin helmet and gas mask, and holding a rifle with fixed bayonet. It is a figure of victory, advancing from the trenches, rather than the passive figure of mourning familiar to many Australian war memorials. The pedestal, which is capped by a wide cornice, has two leaded marble plates: the WWI plate on the front and the later plate on the back. The plates bear the names of the local fallen soldiers: 67 for WWI and 35 for WW2.
The monument has appropriate surrounds in the road reserve: a war trophy, flagstaff, neat flower beds and large poinciana trees. The monument is relatively intact, though painted. The lower step of the base was lost in the re-location. The rifle, which was originally lost has been replaced in recent years.

Queenslands only soldier-type war memorial with a statue in animated pose

Location
E P (Digger) Hole Gardens, Main and Cook Streets, Atherton Qld 4883

Location of Atherton War Memorial (Digger)

Inscription

Rolls of Honour inscribed on two panels to the First and Second World Wars respectively. LEST WE FORGET/THIS MEMORIAL IS DEDICATED TO THE GLORIOUS MEMORY OF THE MEN OF THE ATHERTON TABLELAND WHO FOUGHT AND PAID THE SUPREME SACRIFICE IN THE GREAT WAR/1914-1918.

The WWII Roll of Honour displays the same inscription, but indicates the different conflict.

Each plaque indicates the date of dedication: 1914-18 - 25/04/24, and the 1939-45 - 25th April 1954.

Conflicts commemorated
First World War, 1914-1918
Second World War, 1939-1945
Memorial type
Statue
Additional information

Only Qld digger memorial with action or animated pose, rifle with bayonet fixed in offensive pose, gas mask haversack on chest, scroll in left hand, rocks for support, and tin hat.

The Atherton War Memorial was unveiled on 1st May 1924 by Chairman of the Tinaroo Shire, Mr Grau. It is thought to be designed and executed by Melrose and Fenwick, the leading monumental firm in north Queensland at the time. Funds for the memorial were raised mainly by the local women, with the Atherton RSL contributing £100. Excess patriotic funds allowed Atherton to expand its existing hospital into a larger war memorial hospital.
(Source: EHP Cultural Heritage Register)

Recorded by
Shirley and Trevor McIvor/Dennis Stocks and Doug Tanner
Date recorded
12 March 2009

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