By Jessica Howard
The Bacchus Marsh RSL are commemorating 100 years of Armistice Day, by bringing to life the stories of the service men and women with connections to the district.
The Centenary of Armistice Memorial Project was officially launched at the local Bacchus Marsh RSL Hall on Monday March 5.
Bacchus Marsh RSL President, Cherrison Lawton said the project will see the name plaques of the region’s dedicated WWI soldiers erected on an engaging memorial located at the existing walking trail around the Market Gardens in Bacchus Marsh.
Mrs Lawton said a number of the original 1918 embossed copper name plates, which were located on the elm trees of the Bacchus Marsh Avenue of Honour, had been replaced with modern-day plaques.
However, over the years, a number of old name plates have resurfaced and are now currently sitting in a crate at Moorabool Shire Council offices.
“These should be on display for the whole community to see, and what better way to do this than in a public memorial,” Mrs Lawton said.
Since finding the old crate, the Bacchus Marsh RSL has uncovered a number of interesting stories, including that of Private Gordon Dawson from Coimadai and Bacchus Marsh baker Richard Coates, who enlisted to serve in the First World War at the age of 30 (both covered by The Moorabool News).
Mrs Lawton said it was these stories that the project sub-committee wished to bring alive in the Centenary of Armistice Memorial.
“We are heavily involved with legacy and war widows, and a lot of stories are told with heightened emotions that need to be expressed properly,” she said.
“In November, we celebrate the centenary of the Armistice that ended the First World War and this memorial will be a place of reflection, created by our community coming together”.
Ms Lawton said following the launch of the project, the Bacchus Marsh RSL are now seeking help from the community.
“We want to identify the families connected to the servicemen and women of this region. We’re looking for stories, information and old plaques that may be sitting at home or in the shed,” she said.
“We are also running an in-house project naming competition and are looking for a local designer, whether it’s a graphic designer or school children, to be involved with the design processes”.
To be involved in the Centenary of Armistice Memorial project, contact the Bacchus Marsh RSL on 0411 178 067 or firstname.lastname@example.org.