Murray Bridge WWI memorial, gun will move

Former 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.
Former 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.

TWO wartime memorials at Diamond Park, Murray Bridge, will be moved elsewhere despite objections raised during a community consultation process.

A stone memorial listing the names of local people who served will be shifted to Sturt Reserve, where Anzac Day services were held for the first time this year.

But the council needed to find a compromise on the future of the World War I artillery gun after two of three public submissions argued it should not be relocated to the RSL Museum at Murray Bridge East.

Local residents Chris and Ken Melville said the gun had been presented to the people of Murray Bridge, not to the RSL, and recommended it be moved to Sturt Reserve as well.

"It is a symbol for all community members to be able to remember what we owe to those who went and fought in all conflicts for the freedom we have today," they said.

P and Y Mach said likewise, and suggested a structure be built to protect it from vandalism and the elements.

In response, the council voted to loan the gun to the RSL, but only for as long as it would take to restore it.

After being refurbished, it will be put in a yet-undetermined undercover position where community members and visitors will be able to access it.

The gun will legally remain the property of the council, which maintains custodianship of it on behalf of the community.

The restoration of the gun will cost about $15,000, of which $4700 will come from a Department of Veterans Affairs grant.

The RSL originally approached the council to suggest moving the gun because it was rusting and its wheels were close to collapsing.

RSL regional coordinator David Laing said the piece was likely to become unrepairable within 10 years, but would last up to 50 years longer if it were restored and kept under cover.

No timeline for the removal of the memorial and artillery gun has yet been established.

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