House debates

Monday, 18 March 2024

Constituency Statements

Blayney Shire Local and Family History Group

10:29 am

Photo of Andrew GeeAndrew Gee (Calare, Independent) Share this | Hansard source

I rise to pay tribute to the Blayney Shire Local and Family History Group. The dedicated members have completed a vital task of remembrance to ensure that the service and sacrifice of local Boer War veterans will never be forgotten. In 1899, the Boer War commenced and 123 people from Blayney, including two nurses, took up the call to support the Commonwealth's efforts in South Africa. Two of Blayney's much-loved sons, Hector Black and David Ross Crichton, lost their lives in that conflict. By holding chook raffles, balls and even ping pong tournaments, the then 9,000-strong Blayney community banded together to build a memorial lamp post surrounded by drinking troughs which would honour both the Blayney men who gave their lives in the Boer War and the coronation of Edward VII.

In the 117 years since the beautiful memorable was dedicated on 2 November 1907 it has been relocated a number of times and, in each of those moves, some pieces didn't go with it, leaving it in desperate need of restoration. After many years of unwavering dedication to see the memorial returned to its former glory, last week, on 13 March 2024, the Blayney Shire Local and Family History Group, led by project manager Iris Dorsett, research officer Rhonda Jones and committee members Kathy Brennan and Helen Dent, invited the local community to Carrington Park for the rededication for the newly restored and reinstated Blayney Boer War memorial. It was a true community occasion, with representatives from Blayney RSL, the Boer War association, Blayney Shire Council and Central Tablelands Water all in attendance, as well as students and teachers from Blayney High School, Blayney Public School, St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, Millthorpe Public School, Carcoar Public School and Neville Public School. After the moving service, it was a privilege to have a chat with Scalley Radburn, who kindly showed me some personal items passed on to him by a family member who fought in the Boer War, including a war diary, a prayer book and a campaign belt.

For the Blayney Shire Local and Family History Group, the tremendous day had been 25 years in the making. In 1999, research officer Rhonda Jones led an intensive study into the 121 soldiers and two nurses from the Blayney district that travelled from Blayney to the war. She uncovered not only their names but their stories, which have been published in the book Dear Mother. While this remembrance project was completed thanks to the tireless efforts of the Blayney Shire Local and Family History Group, a big thankyou must also go to mayor Scott Ferguson, and councillors and staff from Blayney Shire Council, including general manager Mark Dicker, director of infrastructure services Jacob Hogan, works manager Joel Cummings, parks and gardens manager Brian Parker and the hardworking teams from the outdoor services, parks and gardens, workshop and administrative departments. A thankyou must also go to Ian and Roxanne Reeks from ICR Engineering, Mark Wilson of Laser Electrical, Ben and Bec Crombie and their staff from McMurtrie & Co and Steve and Jordan Davis from Dubbo Powder Coating and Sandblasting.

It was an honour to be a part of the commemoration. It helps ensure that the service and sacrifice of those men and women will never be forgotten. (Time expired)


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