New site for Murray Bridge Anzac services

Room to move: Murray Bridge RSL president Keith Wood and vice president David Laing hope to relocate the war memorial gun and cenotaph from Diamond Park to Sturt Reserve, allowing more space for Anzac Day services.
Room to move: Murray Bridge RSL president Keith Wood and vice president David Laing hope to relocate the war memorial gun and cenotaph from Diamond Park to Sturt Reserve, allowing more space for Anzac Day services.

Sunrise over the river could be the new, serene setting for Anzac Day services in Murray Bridge.

The Murray Bridge Returned and Services League (RSL) hopes to relocate a gun and cenotaph from Diamond Park to Sturt Reserve where a memorial wall will be built with plaques for local Navy, Army and Air Force personnel.

To the left hand side of the community club, in front of the tennis courts, is the area landmarked for the memorial which will be constructed over the next four years, subject to council and community support.

Murray Bridge RSL vice-president David Laing said public safety, more space and a quieter location were the main reasons for the decision.

"If you stand overlooking the river at Sturt Reserve, the sight of foothills in the distance is reminiscent to parts of Gallipoli," he said.

"Diamond Park was well placed for its day in the late 20s and 30s but it's outgrown its use; there were people standing in the gutters, tripping over footpaths, trucks were going past and there was no wheelchair access anywhere.

"It takes away from the solemnity of the occasion itself."

Mr Laing said Sturt Reserve provided an open space with easy access and carparking, but more importantly, a peaceful area away from traffic noise for reflection.

With up to 3000 people expected at the Anzac Day service in the Rural City to mark the centenary of the Gallipoli landing, members of the Murray Bridge RSL believe it is time to grow and upgrade.

"This is bigger than what the RSL wants, this is a community issue as well."

If Rural City of Murray Bridge councillors vote for the proposal at their council meeting on Monday night, the first stage of the memorial relocation should be completed in time for Anzac Day this year.

Three flag poles, with the Australian, Aboriginal and New Zealand flags, would fly proudly in the early hours of April 25 representing more than 300 Murraylands soldiers who were killed on the beach of Gallipoli 100 years earlier.

Stage two would include building a path of honour, relocating the gun and memorial from Diamond Park and planting a rose garden and hedging.

Clippings from the original lone pine tree in Gallipoli would also be planted at the memorial site.

If all went to plan, stage three - the construction of the memorial wall - would be finished by Anzac Day 2018, the centenary of the end of World War I.

Murray Bridge council would not comment on the idea until after it was discussed in the meeting on January 27.

Changing guard: Murray Bridge RSL vice president David Laingand and president Keith Wood hope to relocate the war memorial from Diamond Park to Sturt Reserve, allowing more space for Anzac Day services.

Changing guard: Murray Bridge RSL vice president David Laingand and president Keith Wood hope to relocate the war memorial from Diamond Park to Sturt Reserve, allowing more space for Anzac Day services.

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