THE City of Armadale’s war memorial notched up a major milestone last Friday – the 100th anniversary since the first foundation stone was laid.
Last Friday, Armadale Mayor Henry Zelones and Armadale RSL sub-branch members marked the occasion at the memorial, which was one of the earliest built in WA to honour soldiers who fought in World War I.
Located in what is now Memorial Park, the concept of a brick obelisk was proposed by a group of Armadale residents, businesses and community groups who formed a Roll of Honour Committee in April 1916.
The decision to erect a monument before the war had officially ceased (November 1918) was reportedly due to local concerns that Armadale soldiers departing for the war prior to 1916 were not given an official send-off.
The committee approached the Road Board in June 1916 for permission to build the obelisk opposite the railway station at the intersection of Fourth Road and Eleventh Avenue.
The board supported the proposal and agreed to take responsibility for the memorial once it was built.
Marian Cullen, the wife of committee secretary Herbert Dale Cullen, laid the first brick, before a brick was laid by a child from each of the five schools of the district.
Mrs Cullen was presented with a “handsome” trowel as a memento of the occasion.
This trowel now sits on display in the History House Museum.
It took four months to build the obelisk, constructed from brick, “burnt from the clay of our own hills” and steps of granite hewn from the Boya quarries.
It was officially unveiled on December 16, 1916 by Governor Sir Harry Barron, and the obelisk continues to serve as a source of pride for Armadale residents.
William James George MLA, who had lost his 20-year-old son in the Gallipoli campaign, was present at the unveiling.
He said: “The people of Armadale were beginning to think of their men not merely as so many units across the seas, but as persons belonging to them and fighting their battles”.