Dudley Soldiers Memorial
Overlooking Dudley, on the corner of Ocean Street and Redhead Road stands an obelisk of granite, commemorating those who served their country and community in The Great War of 1914-1918.
On an overcast ANZAC Day in 1922, superintendant of the Dudley Coal Company, Mr Alexander Reid Cant unveiled the memorial before a crowd of approximately 250 people. The events were presided over by local grocery shopkeeper, Samuel Merritt, who conveyed the community's sentiment of pride over the quota of enlisted men from the small local community, a few gaining military distinctions. Mr Hugh John Connell, MP, Councillor William Beath, Reverend Bruce Willis from the Methodist Church in Adamstown, Mr I. Rodger and Mr T. Canning delivered addresses to the assembly. The Last Post was sounded by Trumpeter Heaton of the 35th Battallion, followed by a few solemn tunes played by the Dudley Brass Band, while relatives and friends of the deceased soldiers, who were honoured the memorial, laid wreaths in remembrance. As the ceremony drew to a close, rain began to fall, whereby an adjournment was made and the crowd was directed to the Masonic Hall where refreshments were served.
Built in 1921 by Meldrum and Markey of Newcastle, the fine hard yellow grey quartzite obelisk stands on a stepped sandstone plinth. It stands 12 feet (approximately 3.7 metres) on a concrete foundation of 8 square feet. The base measures 2 feet 8 inches square and is one foot high, On top of the base is a block of beautifully polished trachyte 2 feet 3 inches square and three inches in depth. On the front panel of the memorial, facing north-west, is an embossed laurel wreath with the inscription "They gave their all", listing in alphabetical order the sixteen soldiers who had gone to war and never returned. On the right and left hand sides of the stone lists the fifty eight names of the remaining local men who served their King and Country. These names are also listed under a laurel wreath and inscription "These offered their all". The names are as follows
Originally it memorialised the local enlisted men from WWI, though in 2005 ;additional plaques were affixed to commemorate and acknowledge those who served in all conflicts. Unveiled by Federal Member for Shortland, Jill Hall MP and dedicated by Father Chris Bird (Chaplain for Adamstown R.S.L. Sub-Branch for the Dudley War Memorial Trust Board) on November 11, on the 60th Anniversary of WW2 to commemorate all those who had served in WWII and other conflicts since that time. Three bronze badges were also added at this time for the Army, Navy and Airforce. The upper plaque's inscription reads:
DUDLEY WAR MEMORIAL
This Memorial Plaque is in Honour
of those who served in all Conflicts
and Peace Keeping operations since
World War I.
LEST WE FORGET
The monument is the outcome of the efforts of the Dudley Patriotic Society, who with the assistance of a group of ladies, raised the £350 required for its construction on behalf of the Dudley and Redhead communities. This band of ladies was instrumental in raising large sums of money through concerts, bazaars, euchre parties and various other ventures. Plans began to unfold in 1919, after the local Red Cross Society had a surplus of £30 and suggestions of how to best use it was discussed. The preferred site for the monument was on Dudley Coal Company land. The Newcastle Morning Herald records on 21 September 1921, a request from the Lands Council to the Department of Mines and the Dudley Coal Company to surrender this portion of land. A stipulation was that a committee of trustees was to be formed. The president and secretary of the Dudley Patriotic Society, Samuel Waterman Merritt (father of Pte William Merritt) and Richard Samuel Hugo, fulfilled the role of trustees of the Dudley War Memorial Reserve. D. Jones and W. H. Gilchrist, two former WWI soldiers, took over these roles in 1948
The Dudley Patriotic Society
The Dudley Patriotic Society was formed in 1915 for the purpose of providing a send off for those men in the tight knit community who were about to embark on war duties. Money was raised through various means, initially sports days were held, but as the war progressed, the ladies of the two branches of the Red Cross, also assisted. Card nights, performances and dances were very popular and gave the people of Dudley some light relief during dark days. When the wounded began to return, the association provided each soldier with a welcome home and a medal. The Newcastle Herald of the day provides a great insight into the evenings, which were enjoyed by all the community.
The names have been transcribed as they appear on the memorial. Some named are spelt differently in their service records. Those without links to service records could not be established as part of the Dudley community from military sources. Some could be from the surrounding district, including Newcastle and her suburbs. If physical proof can be provided, the Community History Team are happy to add the link.
This work by Lake Macquarie City Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License