Moves to add a second Warrnambool memorial honouring as many as 12,000 armed service personnel are a positive step for the district.
The Warrnambool RSL, with support from Warrnambool City Council, is heavily advanced in planning a high-tech memorial that will carry the names of the district’s about 12,000 people who have served since World War I.
Women and indigenous personnel will be among the names listed on an interactive touch screen housed under a pergola-style structure on land behind the existing, landmark memorial erected after World War I.
The planned new memorial will also include stories from each chapter of our service history, including Vietnam, Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The memorial, which will cost about $330,000, including a portion from the community, is expected to become a benchmark across regional Australia.
The Warrnambool RSL members, who have spent countless hours developing the concept, are tipping it will become a tourist attraction.
With family and war service history becoming increasingly popular, the memorial will create even more interest in younger generations.
It will ensure the stories, characters and names will live on. This project will leave a lasting legacy like the existing memorial.
The RSL’s initiative will ensure appropriate recognition for all the men and women from the Warrnambool district who have served their country.
Unlike a stone monument, the computer-based list of names can be updated and information contained in the list like service history, expanded.
The RSL is calling for information from relatives or former service personnel to help build the list. Much work has already been done but there is a lot still to be completed.
The RSL is working hard to secure funds from philanthropic trusts and the tiers of government to bring the project to fruition before the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I next year.
It expects to launch a public fund-raising campaign later this year for about $100,000. Given the sacrifices made by ex-service personnel through our history, that amount pales into insignificance.
It will be our turn to repay the debt because preserving our history is priceless for future generations.