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Maroon War Memorial (Digger)

Description

The Maroon War Memorial is located within a small enclosure just inside the grounds of Maroon State School. The memorial is a tall structure comprised of a sandstone pedestal, column and Digger statue, resting on a stepped concrete plinth.

The sandstone pedestal is substantial. It has a two-tiered base on which rests a narrower 4-sided shaft with decorative flanking scrolls. Tall marble plaques are attached to the front (north) and back (south) faces of the shaft. The front plaque contains an honour roll bearing the names of the 42 local men who served in World War One. Beneath this, on the lowest tier of the pedestal, is another plaque bearing the names of the 42 local men and women who served in World War Two. The plaque on the back face of the shaft bears the inscription: This memorial was erected by the residents of Maroon as a tribute of gratitude and respect to the local volunteers in the Great War 1914-19.

Attached to the lowest tier of the pedestal, on separate faces, are two small oblong marble plaques with the inscriptions: Unveiled by General Sir William Birdwood, May 21, 1920 and: Time capsule placed 21-9-91 commemorating the Maroon State School centenary 1891-1991. With the exception of the latter, the other commemorative inscriptions are leaded.

Above the pedestal a small plinth with the carved lettering King & Empire on the front face supports a tall, plain column which in turn supports the statue of an Australian infantry soldier or digger, standing at ease in a pose favoured by sculptor Frank Williams in his war memorial digger statues. A carved tree stump immediately behind the left leg, often seen in soldier figure memorials, appears to be a structural device to give stability to the standing figure. The statue is life-like but slightly smaller than life-size.

Within the enclosure there is a concrete path leading toward the memorial and some tree plantings. Two small but mature trees, possibly Cupressus sp., flank the path and frame the approach to the memorial. Pines or Cypresses traditionally are associated with First World War memorials, symbolising the August 1915 battle of Lone Pine Ridge, one of the most savage in the Gallipoli campaign.

A tall metal flagstaff is located directly behind the memorial, within the enclosure. A perimeter fence of extruded galvanised iron pipe has replaced an earlier timber fence and is not of cultural heritage significance. Mt Maroon towers in the distance to the southeast and forms a dramatic visual background to the memorial.
(Source: EHP Cultural Heritage Register)

Location
Maroon State School, Boonah-Rathdowney Road, Maroon Qld 4310

Location of Maroon War Memorial (Digger)

Inscription

'This memorial was erected by the residents of Maroon as a tribute of gratitude and respect to the local volunteers in the Great War 1914-19.'

Unveiled by General Sir William Birdwood, May 21, 1920 and 'Time capsule placed 21-9-91 commemorating the Maroon State School centenary 1891-1991'. With the exception of the latter, the other commemorative inscriptions are leaded.

King & Empire

Conflicts commemorated
First World War, 1914-1918
Second World War, 1939-1945
Memorial type
Statue
Commemorative services held

ANZAC Day 25th April - Maroon commemoration. Start 1400, Maroon State School, Boonah-Rathdowney Road.

Contact: Boonah RSL Sub Branch, Geoff Whittet, Secretary: Ph: (07) 54632042, or e-mail: tanky@iinet.net.au

Additional information

At the outbreak of war in Europe in August 1914 Maroon was a small, isolated agricultural community without an urban focus, engaged principally in dairying. Forty-two men from the 35 families resident in the district enlisted and of these, 17 made the supreme sacrifice. This represented a mortality rate for the Maroon community of approximately 40%, compared with the average nationally of 20%.

In 1919 a local committee (comprised principally of the local Maroon school committee members) was formed to raise funds by public subscription for a memorial and honour stone to express the community's gratitude to the men from the district who had served during the Great War. In September 1919 the committee requested permission from the Department of Public Instruction to erect a memorial, flagpole and honour avenue of trees within the Maroon State School grounds.

The memorial committee commissioned the Ipswich firm of F Williams & Co., sculptors and stonemasons, to design, sculpt and construct the memorial. This firm was established at Ipswich in 1901. Its founder, Frank Williams, promoted the use of local marble and became noted for his ecclesiastical marble work in the Ipswich and Darling Downs areas.

The design for the Maroon War Memorial comprised a digger statue atop a tall column, which in turn rested on a substantial pedestal and plinth. The whole was executed in sandstone, with Queensland marble inscription panels, and stood 17 feet 6 inches (5.35 metres) in height. The cost of the monument ( 130) plus foundations and extras, totalled 300. A surrounding timber fence was constructed by voluntary labour.

After the war General Sir William Birdwood, who had commanded the Australian Imperial Force during the war, toured many Australian and New Zealand communities, honouring both those who had made the supreme sacrifice and returned soldiers. During his tour General Birdwood unveiled the Maroon War Memorial on 21 May 1920 and presented Maroon Patriotic Committee medals to 14 of the district's returned servicemen.

At a later date an Honour Board was added to the memorial to honour the 42 men and women of the district who served during World War Two.

The Maroon War Memorial remains the focus for annual Anzac Day commemorations and maintenance of the memorial and enclosure is undertaken by local volunteers. Repairs are funded by an Anzac Day collection. On 21 September 1991 a time capsule was placed at the base of the memorial to celebrate the centenary of the Maroon State School, 1891-1991.
(Source: EHP Cultural Heritage Register)

Recorded by
Shirley and Trevor McIvor/Geoff Whittet, Secretary, Boonah RSL Sub Branch
Date recorded
19 March 2009

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