This Remembrance Day, on November 11, will mark the 100th anniversary of the erection of the earliest war memorial on the Central Coast, the Great War obelisk at Kincumber Public School.
Local historian, Merril Jackson, said the obelisk was placed purposefully to capture high visibility from a traffic and public thoroughfare at the former entry to the school in 1919.
“This is a public memorial listing the names of local men having served, and those ‘gone west’ never to return from foreign soil,” Jackson said.
“This obelisk, designed by Monumental Masons of Lidcombe, Thomas Andrews & Sons, and constructed with Parramatta sandstone, is a rare memorial within Australia, with war monuments denied from school grounds by the State Memorial Advisory Board shortly after its erection.
“Instigated by Mr. T. Humphrey, and supported by Kincumber Public School headmaster, John T. Pryce, a memorial proposal was prompted after the death of Lance Corporal, S. E. J. Lansdowne in France in April 1918, and Trooper, Clive Harris Frost in Port Said.
“The community rallied and worked tirelessly to fundraise and provide community service and labour to erect an honourable monument dedicated to the returned and fallen soldiers of the Kincumber district.”
Jackson said the memorial was completed by August 1, 1919, after the official signing of the Peace Treaty of Versailles, with the official unveiling by General George Macleay Macarthur-Onslow, grandchild of John and Elizabeth Macarthur, delayed until December, 1919.
“This deferral ensured the return of every soldier of Kincumber, and the accuracy of acknowledgment of service, duty and sacrifice upon the four marble tablets, and significant events during the First World War campaign,” she said.
“Two captured WW1 German machine guns were allocated by the NSW State War Trophy Board to the Kincumber community.
“These relics of the Great War are housed within the Kincumber School of Arts.”
Jackson suggested that the time might be right for cleaning the obelisk.
“This historical monument is a Great War memorial providing evidence of the tight-knit community of Kincumber during the war years, and demonstrates the direct impact of the First World War upon the people of the district,” she said.
“The cleaning of such a monument must be completed by a Heritage specialist, as the application of Heritage preservation, conservation and management practices is essential to preserve its integrity.
Media release, Oct 30
Merril Jackson, local historian