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Monument to be unveiled after 96 years in the making

Friday, 20th February, 2015

Adrian Dalby (left), Gary Radford and John Burcher with the granite rock that will soon bear the names of 44 fallen diggers. Adrian Dalby (left), Gary Radford and John Burcher with the granite rock that will soon bear the names of 44 fallen diggers.

By Andrew Robertson

A monument to 44 fallen diggers from the Railwaytown area will soon be unveiled - 96 years after it was first mooted.

The young soldiers were killed during the First World War and See Park Memorial Garden was established in their honour after the war in 1919. 

The ornamental garden featured 44 trees of various species - one for each soldier - along with pathways, flower beds and rockeries. 

Now only the date palms stand as a reminder of the garden where a monument was also to be erected but never went ahead - until now.

Yesterday a large granite rock was brought in and placed in the front grounds of the West Football Clubhouse, the site of the former garden.  

A bronze plaque inscribed with the names of each soldier will now be placed on the rock, according to John Bacich, who has taken on the project with two other former Legacy presidents, Gary Radford and John Burcher.

While they have taken care of the heavy lifting, the job of ensuring the names of all 44 soldiers was correct before being inscribed was left to Mr Bacich’s wife, Pat.  

And it proved a challenging task. Mrs Bacich was given a list of the names which had all appeared in old newspaper reports but she soon discovered many were misspelt and, in some cases, completely incorrect.  

Weeks were spent trolling through online war records to ensure each digger’s name was right.

“That was the sort of thing we have to double check and make sure was right,” Mrs Bacich said. 

One of the Railwaytown diggers, J Sprott, received a military medal, according to Mrs Bacich, who also discovered another of the fallen men was killed at Gallipoli on April 25 1915, now known as ANZAC Day.

The West Football Club secured grants from the Department of Veteran Affairs and City Council for the project which will also see the area around the monument paved ahead of an official unveiling before ANZAC day.

Mr Bacich yesterday thanked Mawsons quarry for donating the stone and Gary Radford for providing the crane that was used to put it in place.

“We’re finishing off what was started 96 years ago.”

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