South Grafton cenotaph labour of love

21st March 2017 5:00 AM
South Grafton RSL Sub branch president Bob Hayes and ccenotaph committee chair Fred Norris get ready for the upcoming dedication of the new cenotaph at South Grafton. CEREMONY: South Grafton RSL Sub-branch president Bob Hayes and ccenotaph committee chair Fred Norris get ready for the upcoming dedication of the new cenotaph at South Grafton. Adam Hourigan

THE $41,000 refurbishment of the cenotaph at South Grafton will be officially rededicated with a special service on Sunday.

South Grafton RSL Sub-Branch president Bob Hayes said the relocated cenotaph was looking a treat and all it required for a great ceremony was a change in the weather.

"We're saying it's on right up to the last moment," he said. "We'll only cancel it if the conditions are bad on the day.

"I was down there this morning and the ground in Lane Park is fine, not boggy at all. So I think we could be right if the weather fines up, even for a day or two.

"If the worst comes to the worst, we'll call it off and postpone it to Anzac Day."

Mr Hayes said the new location of the cenotaph in the park would allow the sub-branch to create a memorial to all conflicts Australian armed forces have fought in.

He said the plan was to line the flood wall behind the cenotaph with plaques creating a timeline of conflicts involving Clarence Valley people in the armed forces.

The sub-branch was also investigating putting the names of service personnel who died in the Second World War and subsequent conflicts on the cenotaph.

"We're still looking into that," he said. "We've considered putting them on the level above the Lest We Forget lettering, but no decision has been made yet."

The sub-branch put out a call for families of the men named on the cenotaph to come forward to be included in the ceremony.

"So far we have three who could take part and we'll take calls right up to the day," Mr Hayes said.

With only six wreaths to be laid, the sub-branch has involved schools in a special ceremony.

"We going to get schoolchildren to lay a poppy for each name on the plinth," he said.

"During the ceremony each child will a place a poppy for each man named on the side where his name is. That's 46 poppies to be laid."