Eugowra reflects on locals who paid the ultimate sacrifice

Those people who participated in the March gathered near the corner of the RTC, where they formed in their groups for the march along North Street to the Memorial Park for the ANZAC service which took place at the Cenotaph.

Emcee for the occasion was Tony Toohey, who welcomed everyone and called on Cathy Eppelstun for the Prayer of Remembrance.

The guest speaker was Elaine Cheney, who spoke of the many memorials we have around the town, recognising those local men who went off to serve their country in times of war.

"In reflecting on the service of those from Eugowra and its surrounds, Eugowra saw many of its sons wear our country's uniform in service which resulted in the loss of life and hardships particularly as a result of World War One," she said.

"Although 85 young Eugowra men enlisted to serve their country as part of WWI, 20 of those 85 never returned to their hometown Eugowra and to their families.

"These young men who lost their life in this conflict are marked by a cross on the Honour Roll behind me in our War Memorial.

"Many of these men were from Eugowra's pioneering families and several families lost multiple members including the Gage, McMillan and Kelly families.

"The destructive nature of war also resulted in many men not being able to be identified at the time of burial which this included Eugowra's Private Charles Alfred Gage. It took 103 years after Charles's death to identify his remains where he laid in the battlefields of France. As well as being a Eugowra local, Charles Alfred Gage was one of the first indigenous diggers to die on the Western Front."

Mrs Cheney spoke about the inspiration and vision for the local Cenotaph, centre of the day's commemorations.

"Following the return of the Eugowra's first soldiers in 1917, welcome home receptions were held regularly and after the end of WW1 in August 1919, a large peace parade was held in the form of a procession which led through the streets of Eugowra to the Showground where a picnic was had, and presentations made to the ex-servicemen," she said.

"Additionally, an avenue of trees was planted in Oberon Street as a Soldiers Memorial Drive. These trees are assumed to be the Peppercorn trees which still line the majority of Oberon Street today.

"In 1927, a public meeting agreed to erect an Honour Roll and that it incorporate all the names of servicemen who enlisted from the Eugowra District.

"It was decided to place the Honour Roll in the foyer of the Imperial Theatre, now the location of the Eugowra Supermarket and Newsagency, but fire destroyed the theatre in 1929 and damaged the Honour Roll.

"A Eugowra War Memorial Committee was established and following the fire, an outcome of a meeting in 1930 was for the erection of this War Memorial structure at the entrance to this park which would also house an Honour Roll.

"A special celebration for the unveiling of this Memorial was held on Anzac Day 1931. The local newspaper reported that: the Honour Roll was unveiled on the splendid monument erected in the park.

"A procession was formed in front of the police station, and marched to the monument, where a very impressive service was held and attended by practically the whole of the district."

Additional honour rolls have been added to honour those from Eugowra who served in later wars and again identifies the eight serviceman who lost their lives during WWII.

Other additions to our Memorial Park include the relocation of Memorial Gates from the Eugowra Memorial Hospital in 1972 as well as a light of remembrance being incorporated into the War Memorial in 1956.

"Although we are here today to honour, reflect and remember those who have served on this Anzac Day, it is important to note that there are reminders all through our community which allows us to acknowledge all the men and women who have and continue to serve our country, as we go about our daily business," Mrs Cheney concluded.

"Lest We Forget."

Then followed the laying of many wreaths from groups and organisations in addition to the schools and individuals.

Tim De Lange then read 'In Flanders Fields'. The Ode was read by Hugh Ellis.

Cadet Cpl Anthony Whelan played the Last Post and The Rouse. Anthony is a member of the Australian Air Force Cadet Band, and a member of the City of Griffith 340 Squadron.

The MC, Tony Toohey, made a request on the day for any person who has knowledge of why the Canary Island Date Palm trees were planted in the design they have been, would they please pass the information on to the Museum or the EPPA.