FINALLY work commenced on replacing the damaged cenotaph in Leongatha today.
But the one that is presently rising from the ruins of the old one will honour more of our ex-service men and women than the one it replaces. Several fields of war and peace-keeping operations will now be included from the occupation of Japan by the Allied forces between 1945-52 to peace-keeping in 1947, the Gulf War in 1990-91, East Timor 1999-2001, Afghanistan 2001 and Iraq 2003-2009.
The work is being directed by Justin Wissmer of Keenan and Sons Morwell who are specialists in cenotaph renovations, restorations and relocations doing much of that sort of work throughout Gippsland.
Locally they relocated the war memorial at Poowong.
A feature of the new cenotaph will be the distinctive Harcourt granite sourced from China.
Buying material from China tends to give Australians pause for thought at the moment but Mr Wissmer said there was really no alternative for this sort of work.
“It’s the only place you can get it these days. It got to the point where it cost three times as much to get it locally and in a competitive environment you couldn’t do it.”
He said however that the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic had delayed the arrival of the stone.
They expect to lift the top of the cenotaph into place tomorrow morning (Friday).
It will then be on to a major job renovating the memorial in Warragul.
Leongatha’s missing cenotaph didn’t leave the impression it might have this Anzac Day due to the changed circumstances but it will be well and truly back in action for Remembrance Day.
There is expected to be a rededication by the RSL either before then or as part of the Remembrance Day observances.