Glebe War Memorial

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Glebe War Memorial, Foley Park, Glebe

The area of Glebe was granted to the Church of England in 1789. In 1828 it was subdivided into 28 allotments and all but three were offered for sale. George Williams purchased the site that would become Foley Park and the Glebe War Memorial in 1828, and commissioned Edward Hallen to design Hereford House. After Williams's death in 1832, Hereford House was transferred to Ambrose Foss in 1833. In 1837 the property was sold to William Hirst, and it continued to change hands quite regularly, with reducing acreage, over the subsequent years. In 1908, when the Crown acquired the site following the death of the then owner, William Wilkinson, a teachers' college was established in the house. Hereford House was finally demolished in 1929, and Glebe Rest Park was established on the site. In 1964 it was named after Dr HJ Foley, a local medical practitioner and council alderman.

The memorial committee

The search for a suitable site for a war memorial in Glebe had begun in 1919, and was carried out by the Glebe Memorial Committee. This committee consisted of six members of the municipal council, led by the president Mr T Keegan, and included Mr William Brown as honorary secretary, [1] Tom Glasscock, and the architect William Martin. [2] The current location of the memorial was the third site favoured by the committee, who had previously considered the intersection of Glebe Point Road and Broadway, or the corner of St Johns Road and Derwent Street. [3] In March 1921 however, the committee agreed to an offer from the Department of Education for a 99-year lease on a portion of land between the teachers' college (the former Hereford House) and St John's Bishopthorpe Anglican church. [4]

The foundation stone for the memorial was laid by the Governor-General Lord Henry Forster on 3 June 1921. [5] In the same year, the committee erected an honour roll in the foyer of the Glebe Town Hall, listing the names of 792 locals who served in the Great War. [6]

The sum of £2,500 was raised for the construction of the memorial, which was unveiled by Lord Forster on Anzac Day (25 April) in 1922, with Lady Forster unveiling the life-size busts of the sailor and soldier. [7] On Wednesday 17 January 1923, a meeting was held at the Glebe Town Hall to ascertain the steps to be taken to pay off a sum of approximately £360 that was still owing to the contractors for the memorial. The mayor, Alderman Tate, put forward a motion recommending that the Glebe Council be asked whether it would devote 1 per cent of the revenue towards extinguishing the debt. It was also decided that if the Council were to consent, they would offer the contractor £300 in full settlement of his account. [8]

Vandalism and restoration

The memorial has not been significantly altered since this time. However it was repaired following vandalism in the 1980s. In the mid-1980s, the memorial's two busts (of a soldier and a sailor) were stolen, only to be returned a short time later. [9] In 1987 vandals removed the busts for good, as well as smashing the head off the angel above the front portal and spray-painting over the names on the roll of honour. Consequently, in 1992 Max Solling (a local historian), Bill Nelson (a semi-retired Glebe doctor), Hugh Scott and Margaret Sheppard formed the Glebe Diggers' Committee and launched an appeal to restore the memorial. [10] Among other fundraising efforts made by the community, the Glebe Society held a street stall to raise money for the restoration works on 13 March 1993. [11] Works commenced shortly afterwards.

Sculptor Kris Krawczyk used simulated marble [12] and photos to recreate the busts and angel, which were returned to the plinth on 29 October 1993. [13] During works, the structure was also waterproofed, floodlighting was installed to deter vandals [14] and the granite orb improved. [15] In 2012, works commenced to improve the garden areas around the memorial.

Notes

[1] 'Buildings and Trades. Glebe War Memorial', Sydney Morning Herald, 15 June 1921, p 7

[2] Max Solling, 'Soldiers memorial: built and repaired by the public', Village Voice, September 1999, p 31

[3] Max Solling, 'Soldiers memorial: built and repaired by the public', Village Voice, September 1999, p 31

[4] Max Solling, 'Soldiers memorial: built and repaired by the public', Village Voice, September 1999, p 31

[5] 'Personal. Vice-Regal', Sydney Morning Herald, 4 June 1921, p 12

[6] Max Solling, 'Soldiers memorial: built and repaired by the public', Village Voice, September 1999, p 31

[7] 'Personal. Vice-Regal', Sydney Morning Herald, 26 April 1922, p 10

[8] 'The Suburbs. Glebe War Memorial', Sydney Morning Herald, 19 January 1923, p 12

[9] 'The Diggers Return to Memorial', Glebe, 3 November 1993, p 9

[10] 'Committee battles to defend diggers. Bid to save memorials', Glebe, 21 October 1992, p 5

[11] 'Appeal in race for funds', Glebe, 24 February 1993, p 7

[12] Corinne Podger, 'Tibby: Gone but not forgotten in Glebe', Glebe, 7 April 1993, p 2

[13] 'The Diggers Return to Memorial', Glebe, 3 November 1993, p9

[14] Corinne Podger, 'Tibby: Gone but not forgotten in Glebe', Glebe, 7 April 1993, p2

[15] 'The Diggers Return to Memorial', Glebe, 3 November 1993, p9

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