$200k granted to new Murray Bridge war memorial

Next week's Anzac Day service in Murray Bridge will be the last to be held at the present site on the riverfront.

The federal government announced last Thursday it would dedicate $200,000 to the construction of a new war memorial a few hundred metres upstream, beneath Wharf Hill, opposite the Marketplace shopping centre.

Three black granite slabs will be erected on a rectangular base, marked with the insignia of Australia's army, navy and air force.

Viewed from the front, they will curve towards the crowd at future memorial services, as though stretching out arms to provide welcome and comfort.

From the back, the same shape will suggest protection and shelter.

The memorial will not list the names of every serviceman or women from the district, but will list every conflict in which Australians have served since Federation.

RSL sub-branch president David Laing said the memorial would be somewhere all people, not just veterans, could seek peace and reflection.

It would also start the rejuvenation of Sturt Reserve in an area someday likely to contain cafes or a new tourism information centre.

"As soon as you walk down the hill from the redeveloped Bridgeport Hotel, you'll walk across the road to our memorial," he said.

"It will be something the whole community can be proud of."

Member for Barker Tony Pasin said he had spoken about the idea with the RSL and Murray Bridge council over the past 18 months.

He described it as a community project, not an RSL project, and one which would right a long-term wrong.

The RSL had originally planned to move the cenotaph at Diamond Park to the riverfront when the first Anzac Day service was held there in 2015.

Although he announced the funding on the day the federal election was called, Mr Pasin said it was a committment of the government, previously agreed upon, not an election promise from the Liberal Party.

He acknowledged that the grant was not quite set in stone, since the federal budget had not yet passed through parliament when the election was called.

But even if power did change hands in Canberra, he said, taking such a relatively small amount of money back from veterans in a regional centre would be a difficult decision for any new government to defend.

The memorial is expected to be finished in time for Remembrance Day in November.

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