GAWLER South’s World War One war memorial has been restored to its former glory, with locally-sourced Angaston marble being used to reinstate one of the statue’s key features.
Gawler Council completed the significant heritage restoration works this past week, with restoration experts reinstating the memorial digger’s rifle and right hand using the same material used to erect the monument back in 1921.
Gawler RSL Sub Branch president Paul Little said it was the first time the memorial had been properly restored since it was damaged three decades ago.
“It had a bit of damage done to it by vandals back in the ’80s,” Mr Little said.
“They broke the gun off a couple of times, and they only replaced it with a fibreglass gun, but (after the restoration) they’ve got a proper granite one there now.”
Council staff spent considerable time matching the new marble works with the parent marble of the statue, which was quarried at the time of the monument’s construction.
Barossa Quarries, of Angaston, located the old quarry pit where the original marble was sourced, and a block of marble from the old pit was donated by quarry owners to the project.
The restoration was conducted as part of an agreement between council and the RSL not to relocate the monument to Gawler’s Pioneer Park, as the latter had initially requested.
Council and the RSL are now working together to construct an ‘All Wars’ memorial at the park.
“We’ve got a couple of artists who are vying to get that done,” Mr Little said.
“We’re going to pick which one we like and put it to the public as well, to get their feedback, and, hopefully, that will be finished by the end of next year, too.”
The restoration will enable the RSL to host a small service for descendants of the local diggers named on the monument, to honour the 100th anniversary of the World War One armistice on Remembrance Day 2018.
Gawler Mayor Karen Redman said the restoration followed earlier works to clean the memorial and reset the lettering on its base, which began last year.
“I encourage all residents to visit the restored memorial and pay homage to the sacrifice many Gawler men and women made to achieve a wonderful and safe country and community,” she said.