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ST PETERS HEROES MEMORIAL NAME TABLETS.
Description of Project:
The St Peters Heroes Memorial is located at the intersection of St Peters Street and Second Avenue, St Peters.
A meeting of the women of St Peters was held in 1919 and resolved “– to erect a soldiers’ memorial in honour of the St Peters Heroes who fell in the Great War”. (http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/5651407)
The design, by Adelaide architect and artist Edward Davies, consists of a base of Angaston marble on top of which is a statue of an Australian soldier with arms reversed, sculptured in Italy from a photograph. The cost of the memorial was met by public subscriptions, with the unveiling and dedication by the then Governor in February 1922. (http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/63704729 and http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/87416926)
This memorial differs to most others in the State, in that it does not have the names of those who paid the supreme sacrifice. It can be assumed that in 1922 it was not felt necessary, as in May 1915, barely a month after the ANZAC landings on Gallipoli, the St Peters Council called for relatives to submit photos and details of those locals who had volunteered for overseas service. These were used to prepare a photographic Roll of Honour which was displayed in the Town Hall, as a permanent memorial to those who served in the Great War.
The ‘Register’ newspaper, in the article on the dedication of the Memorial, reported –
“The statue makes a fitting companion to the honour roll in the town hall which contains the photographs and names of some 600 men from the district who enlisted.”
The framed & mounted photos were displayed on the walls of the Town Hall foyer until the mid-1960s, when they were taken down during building renovations. It is not known what happened to the Roll of Honour boards after they were removed, but they are now lost and these men and women are no longer commemorated.
It is considered that the Centenary of Anzac is an appropriate time for the names of the Great War fallen to appear on the St Peters Memorial, and this forms the basis for this grant application.
The application is for research into the names of local service personnel to determine the names of those who did not return, the preparation of bronze tablets containing those names, the fixing of the tablets onto the sides of the memorial’s plinth and changes to the ground level lighting to illuminate the tablets.
Preliminary research indicates that about 700 local men and women enlisted, and, based on the Australian WW1 mortality rate of 15%, there will be about 120 names to be commemorated on the tablets.
The research work will be voluntarily undertaken by members of the St Peters Residents Association, under the guidance of the Local Heritage Consultant, Denise Schumann. The main expenditure will be for the casting of the tablets, the installation on the memorial and minor electrical work.
It is intended that the St Peters Heroes Memorial with the bronze name tablets will be re-dedicated around the Centenary Remembrance Day in November 2018.
Anticipated benefits of the project.
The erection of the St Peters Heroes Memorial was the result of the desire of the local community to remember their losses. This project will again involve the local community in a re-dedication to the sacrifices made 100 years ago.
The project is designed to highlight not only the local, but also the national significance of the service and sacrifice of St Peters residents in the Great War, and so raise the awareness of the community. This will be achieved by displaying the names of those who did not return from the Great War, and how many there were from, what was then, a small community.
The project will redress the fact that the local memorial lacks the names of those St Peters Heroes it was erected to commemorate.
An attempt will be made to contact the descendants and families of those named and to invite them to the Memorial’s re-dedication. This will emphasize the wider impact of the Great War, and provide an added stimulus for additional family history research.
The research results will be shared with the RSL Virtual War Memorial, so that the information can be accessed by as wide an audience as possible.
The project will underscore the importance of preserving historical information and war memorials as a means of understanding and reflecting on the impact of the Great War on the Australian Community, and the importance of the Anzac tradition in understanding the formation of our national identity.
Who is involved in the project?
Members of the St Peters Residents Association - research on WW1 servicemen & women.
Members of the wider local community – publication of the project to enlist further support and assistance in research and implementation.
City of Norwood, Payneham & St Peters. – Co-ordination and liaison will be undertaken with the Council as required.
Denise Schumann - Local Heritage Consultant.