LEST WE FORGET: Thousands of Chinchilla residents attended this year's Anzac Day ceremony eager to see the relocated cenotaph among its new home in the recently completed Botanical Parklands.
LEST WE FORGET: Thousands of Chinchilla residents attended this year's Anzac Day ceremony eager to see the relocated cenotaph among its new home in the recently completed Botanical Parklands. Kate McCormack

Thousands gather to honour the Anzac legend

THOUSANDS of residents gathered at the recently completed Botanical Parklands in Chinchilla yesterday as the historic cenotaph was unveiled to the public at a brand new location, 100 years after it was first presented to the people of Chinchilla.

Originally opened on January 30, 1919, the cenotaph has been relocated several times, but now the public will gather at the newly finished Chinchilla Botanical Parklands to honour the 200 local men who served in World War I.

 

The original Chinchilla Soldier's Memorial on Chinchilla Street, opposite Ainsworth Motors.
The original Chinchilla Soldier's Memorial on Chinchilla Street, opposite Ainsworth Motors. Chinchilla RSL

Chinchilla RSL sub-branch deputy president and 1965-1972 national serviceman Don Allen revealed there had been decades of mystery surrounding the cenotaph.

Mr Allen has spent the past 18 months digging up information on the town's war history to mark the Armistice centenary in 2018.

Chinchilla 2019 Anzac Day: The 2019 Anzac Day March in Chinchilla
Chinchilla 2019 Anzac Day: The 2019 Anzac Day March in Chinchilla

"Council decided to move the memorial from its original location (initially located at the original Anzac Memorial Park which has seen been redeveloped into the skate park near the overpass) after some locals complained it presented a danger to the children seen climbing on top of it," he said.

 

RSL Sub-Branch vice-president Don Allen.
NEW HOME: RSL sub-branch deputy president Don Allen in front of the relocated cenotaph inside the new Chinchilla Botanical Parklands. Kate McCormack

"They believed something in the structure was unsound so, when the civic centre was constructed, it was decided Fuller Place was where the memorial belonged, which was when it gained the spire.

"However, the soldier on top was not found with it, which prompted a search.

"Eventually he was found at the Chinchilla museum and the women's auxiliary had it restored and shifted to the RSL for safekeeping in 1992 as it is now heritage listed."

The RSL has since decided to keep the original memorial soldier safe at the RSL but is working with the council to add a new soldier atop the relocated cenotaph.

"It would be nice to see the monument as close to the original as possible," Mr Allen said.

Soldier or no soldier, the memorial will see another century of Chinchilla history at the new Botanical Parklands.

Council have planned to hold an official opening for the parklands on Tuesday, May 28 with the community fun day on Saturday, June 1.

Meanwhile, you can see more of the cenotaph and Thursday's Anzac Day ceremony in our photo gallery bellow: