Anzac centenary plans evolve

Published on 12 May 2014

The federal government has given Loddon Shire $20,000 towards the cost of erecting bronze statues of two of the district’s most decorated soldiers.

The funding, issued under the Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program, was advised to Council last month by Senator Michael Ronaldson, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC.

Council has convened a working group to plan the Shire’s contribution to the centenary.

Chaired by the Mayor, Cr Gavan Holt, the group comprises representatives of the Shire’s RSL committees and historical societies as well as CEO John McLinden and Manager Community Planning Tim Jenkyn.

The group is considering commissioning statues of Victoria Cross winners Albert Jacka and Albert Borella, which would be installed in Jacka Park, Wedderburn.

Jacka was raised in Wedderburn, enlisted in September 1914 and landed at Gallipoli in April 1915. A singular act of bravery resulted in his receiving the first Victoria Cross to be awarded to the Australian Imperial Force in World War I.

Borella was born at Borung and educated at the Borung and Wychitella state schools.

In March 1915 he enlisted in the AIF, was sent to Gallipoli that September and, later, to the Western Front. He earned his VC for his actions against the enemy at Villers-Bretonneux in July 1918.

Among other plans, the committee is developing the program for a Shire-wide celebration at Serpentine on 24 April next year, featuring an address by former National Party Deputy Prime Minister and Australia's first residential ambassador to the Holy See Tim Fischer.
 
Representatives from all communities across the municipality will be among the 330 people invited, along with 300 school students from Boort, Bridgewater, East Loddon, Inglewood, Pyramid Hill, Tarnagulla and Wedderburn.

Also present will be RSL members from Inglewood-Bridgewater, Pyramid Hill, Wedderburn-Korong Vale and Mitiamo-East Loddon, plus historical society representatives from Inglewood and District, East Loddon, Pyramid Hill and Korong-Wedderburn and Army Reserve members from Bendigo.

Also planned for the centenary celebrations are a memorial stone sourced from Pyramid Hill, a commemorative plaque, an exhibition of World War I items in Serpentine Hall and an audio-visual display.

The next meeting of the committee will be held in Serpentine on 26 May.