Opportunity for memorial corrections

Pierra WillixBusselton Dunsborough Times
City of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley with Busselton RSL memorial warden Peter Dagleish, vice president Keith Scardifield and secretary Glen Woodward at the war memorial.
Camera IconCity of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley with Busselton RSL memorial warden Peter Dagleish, vice president Keith Scardifield and secretary Glen Woodward at the war memorial. Credit: Pierra Willix

The City of Busselton is considering the logistics of correcting errors on the Busselton War Memorial if roadworks lead to its relocation.

Councillors last year endorsed the Busselton Traffic Study, which included the short-term recommendation of the construction of a new roundabout at the junction of Causeway Road, Peel Terrace, Albert Street and Queen Street, which will change the layout of Victoria Park and affect accessibility to the war memorial.

Busselton Mayor Grant Henley said the roadworks did not require the removal of the memorial and said the City would work closely with the Busselton Returned and Services League to determine whether the relocation of the memorial was considered the best option.

Cr Henley said there were some issues with the war memorial, including misspelt names and the exclusion of some nurses who served.

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The Busselton War Memorial was installed in 1919 and opened in 1920 before being refurbished in 1984.

Cr Henley said there was a big rush to install the original memorial and there had been minimal research and validation, with the names of some servicemen from other towns including Bridgetown, Dardanup and Donnybrook also listed.

“The word ‘honour’ is also spelt wrong and the memorial does not include about six names of nurses from the district who either enlisted or volunteers who were not recognised with those that served, which is a gross inequity,” he said.

Local amateur historian Joy Dagleish has been researching the names on the war memorial and said she had uncovered some inconsistencies.

“In 1984 the memorial had to have a major facelift as it was starting to crumble; however, when they put the slabs over the top to hold it together, some of the names were printed incorrectly as the names on the original stone had worn off with erosion,” she said.

Mrs Dagleish said the names of four servicemen who had been killed in active service had not been included on the memorial and said there were also three names she had never been able to identify as serving.

The inclusion of men from other towns was most likely a result of them enlisting in Busselton, Mrs Dagleish said.

The potential relocation of the war memorial presented an opportunity to correct some of the anomalies that existed, Cr Henley said.

“If we go through with the relocation it will be an opportunity to address the inaccuracies of the past,” he said.

Busselton RSL vice-president Keith Scardifield said he believed correcting any mistakes was appropriate for honouring those who served. “With some people’s names being spelt incorrectly, if we are going to honour them we want to do it correctly,” he said.

Rotary Park has been suggested as a potential place for the memorial to be relocated to, which Mr Scardifield said was appropriate.

Mr Scardifield said the decision whether to relocate the memorial would be determined by a majority vote of RSL members.

Cr Henley said the City was looking at developing the roundabout in the next five years.

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