War Memorials in Australia
Frequently Asked Questions
How many war memorials are there in Australia?
When this project commenced I read that there may be between 4,000 and 5,000 memorials in Australia. That figure may have referred to outdoor memorials but by including honour boards, plaques and anything else that can be considered a war memorial that figure can now be seen as a low estimate. There are in excess of 6,200 memorials in the index to date and there are many more to be included. I have no idea what the eventual total will be.
all the war memorials?
Most monuments erected after the Boer War and World War I were put up by local communities. Committees were organised to raise funds, approve design and commission construction. The Commonwealth and States did not provide any funding although some municipal councils in Victoria did. The monuments were built on land provided by the Shire, the State, the Commonwealth Government (in front of Post Offices etc.) or by private individuals. Once the monument was dedicated and the cost paid off the committees usually dissolved. No-one seemed to actually "own" the monument itself other than the community at large. Various RSL sub-branches and other organisations have taken on the duties of custodians but as some of these lose members and dissolve the question of who is responsible for the upkeep of a memorial sometimes becomes a problem. For memorials built in more recent years the custody arrangements are more formal such as those memorials in Canberra which are the responsibility of the National Capital Authority.
decided which names would go on a particular memorial?
As stated above, the erection of war memorials after World War I was nearly always a community effort. The way in which names were gathered differed from place to place as did the criteria for inclusion. Using Braidwood NSW as an example, soldiers who were born in Braidwood, enlisted there or whose parents resided there at the outbreak of war were eligible to have their names added to the honour roll. Sometimes names were invited through newspaper articles or advertisements. In other cases rolls were opened at the town hall and citizens were able to write in names of relatives. There was sometimes uncertainty as to who was entitled to be included and this could lead to confusion in later years when no other records could be found in the district for a particular person named on the memorial. Omissions also caused concern on occasion and there are numerous examples of names that have been added at a later date, sometimes squeezed in. For World War II and later wars there were more complete records for servicemen and women and the process of collecting names was a bit easier.
some World War I memorials have the dates as 1914 - 1919 when the war ended in
Hostilities ended on 11 November 1918 when the Armistice came into force and many people saw this as the end of the war. However it didn't officially cease until the Peace Treaty Of Versailles was signed on 28 June 1919. Some communities in Australia used 1918 as the year the war ended and some used 1919.
Why isn't the
memorial in my town listed in your index?
The database has been built up from various sources as well as personal records. There are gaps in the records consulted so far and I have not visited all locations in any one district. Further, many memorials such as honour boards are inside locked buildings such as halls and churches and I have not been able to gain access. Consequently there are many omissions.
memorial in my town is listed in your index but there is no detailed
Doing the detailed descriptions took Michal a lot of time. Some memorials have hundreds of names on them and the transcription had to be done from photographs. Some names and initials (especially C and G) are hard to read and had to be checked against other sources such as nominal rolls. Michael had a number of valued contributors who sent in details and he put them at the head of the work program. A large quantity of details collected by Michal had not been entered to this website before he died.
How do I
get from the index page to the detailed description page?
If the word 'View' appears against Description on the index page, click on it and you will get the detailed description page which has more information including inscriptions and names. If 'View' does not appear it means that the description has not yet been prepared. You can also find which memorials have been described by clicking on the appropriate state or territory on the Detailed Descriptions contents page
relative should be listed on this memorial but he's not. Can you please arrange
for his name to be added?
No I cannot. This site has no official standing and all it does is record exactly what is shown on the memorial. If a name has been omitted or if it has been misspelt, the matter should be taken up with the authority responsible for maintaining the memorial which may be the Shire Council, an RSL Sub-Branch or some other body.
time does the New Age Expo start in the Healesville Memorial Hall next Sunday?
I have no idea. I photographed the outside of the hall some years ago and recorded it as a war memorial. I live in Canberra, 600 kilometres away. How could I possibly know details of activities going on in the hall? I am at a loss to understand why these sorts of queries are addressed to me when all I have done is record the memorial. I also receive questions which are obviously meant to be asked of the Australian War Memorial (AWM). As stated above, this site is not in any way associated with the AWM and questions meant for them should be directed to http://www.awm.gov.au/request
site mainly a genealogical one?
No but I realise that many, if not most, visitors to the site are looking for names for genealogical purposes. For that reason I strive to be as accurate as possible in transcribing names. If you want more information about a particular person please check sites such as the databases of the Australian War Memorial or the National Archives of Australia or to a regional historical society.
you doing this and how did you start?
I can't remember when I first got interested in war memorials - I just always have been. It is the notion of remembrance that appeals to me and the idea that we owe so much to the people that the memorials honour. I also like them as objects, some of them are beautiful and I enjoy looking at the statues. The idea of a book has been in the back of my mind for ages but the difficulties are insurmountable. The costs of publishing such a book, especially if it contained colour photos, would be prohibitive. Moreover it would be out of date as soon as it was printed because memorials are always being moved or added to and new memorials are continually appearing. And then the Internet came along. Bingo! Here was the answer and in 2000 I started the website. It takes a lot of time and effort and without the unfailing support, encouragement and practical assistance of my wife, I couldn't do it. It's lucky that we both enjoy driving holidays so we combine the interest in memorials with other holiday activities. Sometimes the holiday seems to consist of driving from one memorial to the next but it still stays enjoyable and we both get a kick out of talking to the people we meet as a result of our interest .
Do you receive any funding?
Not a cent. I haven't asked and I don't intend to unless the financial burden becomes too heavy. It costs money to maintain this site but I have received mates' rates and other invaluable assistance from Arthur Hutchcraft my original ISP who is a Vietnam Veteran and strongly supportive. Office PCs of Canberra integrated the database and charged a discounted fee. I suspect they did it for less than cost. A number of contributors have supplied CDs of images, photographic prints or hard copy printouts at their own expense. To all these people I give heartfelt thanks.
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