St Marys RSL
Within the St Marys RSL Club, our local Sub-Branch has developed a memorial display along the full extent of the main corridor to the club’s auditorium. This display is designed to memorialise the culture, traditions and achievements of Australia’s military forces, with particular focus on local contributions.
The Corridor, linking the café to the Auditorium, features a visual display, representing each major area of conflict; a map depicting all peacekeeping operations involving Australian service personnel; three TV screens presenting ever-changing slide-shows of a military nature; three re-vamped display cabinets containing a wide range of military memorabilia; a computer providing ready access to a broad selection of unique information; and light background music from the various conflict eras together with an audio description of the Corridor layout.
Some 60 years since the ceasefire in 1953, forty-three of Australia’s military personnel remain Missing-in-Action somewhere in North Korea. Thanks to the untiring work of the Korean War Veterans Association, and the generosity of Mark Beech from Guardian Funerals, a bronze plaque listing the 43 names of the missing, has been graciously received by the Sub-Branch at a presentation on 9 September 2013. We will shortly look to include the plaque within the Corridor of Honour, in the vicinity of our existing representation of Korean War action.
On 9th September, Barry Gracey of the Pozières Remembered Association visited the Sub-Branch to present a range of authentic icons from the Battlefields of Pozières from July/August 1916. On 4 August 1916, at the site of the old Windmill, in capturing Pozières from the Germans, the 2nd Australian Division lost more men than on any other battlefield throughout the war. The three Australian Divisions involved in the Pozières campaign (1st, 2nd & 4th), lost more than 23,000 casualties over 45 days, with over 7,000 killed. The array of items presented included an Australian bayonet and five rusty heads from entrenching tools – three Australian and two German. The presentation of these items was made on behalf of the Mayor (Mr Bernard Delattre) and villagers of Pozières as a further and continuing appreciation of the support Australia has provided during and since that battle.
Around 200 Sub-Branch members, families and friends witnessed the official opening of the newly constructed "Corridor of Honour" at St Marys RSL Club. With the Club’s approval, the St Marys RSL Sub-Branch engaged the services of WOW Displays to assist it design and then construct inside the Club, a suitable memorial to all Australians who have played a part in all conflicts around the globe, and with particular focus on contributions from the St Marys district.
Rita Thomas (sister of Jack Jewry, killed in the Battle of Long Tan, Vietnam on 18 August 1966) and Judith Gavin (mother of Luke, killed in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan on 29 October 2011) – both were local lads – added significant meaning to the occasion when they cut the ribbon to open the "Corridor of Honour".