Thursday, May 30, 2024

Lakemba War Memorial restoration unveiled for ANZAC Day

Every ANZAC Day, Tim McCaw proudly marches with his five grandchildren from his local RSL to the Lakemba War Memorial, wearing replica medals of his late father, to take part in the day’s commemorations.

And this ANZAC Day will be extra special for the Lakemba RSL sub-branch member, as he marches to the monument near the railway station, which has been restored to its former glory.

In a joint project between City of Canterbury Bankstown Council and Lakemba RSL Sub-Branch, the Lakemba War Memorial has received a much-needed face lift just in time for Anzac Day.

The $45,000 restoration was jointly funded by Council, Canterbury Leagues Club and the NSW Government under its Community War Memorials Fund.

Upgrades included the removal of surface decay, mortar patch repairs, a thorough deep clean, the installation of new turf around the memorial and a new plaque providing history and details of the monument.

“It’s been a long, arduous battle but it’s been worth it – It just looks so good to what was here, and it means everything to us veterans,” Mr McCaw said.

Mr McCaw was a conscript in the 1960s, making him the fourth generation in his family to serve Australia. His father served in the Middle East and New Guinea, his great uncle served in the first world war and his great grandfather goes right back to the Crimean War.

“That’s why it meant so much to me, to see it here for the future in its prime condition,” he says.

The Lakemba War Memorial was erected in 1953 and Canterbury-Bankstown Mayor, Bilal El-Hayek says it is important that it is looked after for future generations.

“It’s memorials like these that remind us to reflect on the sacrifices of the many young men and women who served this country,” Mayor El-Hayek said.

“It’s only fitting that this upgrade has been completed in time for Anzac Day.”

Also refreshed ahead of this ANZAC Day, the ANZAC Park Memorial at Campsie has been cleaned, repaired and repainted, with fresh white roses planted to commemorate those who fell in the first World War. This memorial was dedicated in 1995 as part of the Federal Government’s Remember Australia Program.

For Mr McCaw, ANZAC Day is all about remembering those who served and sacrificed their lives and marching to a memorial is a moving feeling that “many will never understand”.

“Even though you didn’t serve with some of the people, when you line up and you step off on your right foot, you just look and you know you’re with mates,” he said.

The Lakemba RSL Sub-Branch will hold a memorial service at 7am on ANZAC Day.

To find an Anzac Day service near you, visit the RSL NSW website.

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