Memorial well timed

THE Warilla RSL Sub-Branch has welcomed the completion of the restoration project of the Shellharbour War Memorial in time for Anzac Day.

The $25,000 restoration project was completed last week, with new memorial plaques and lettering fitted to the memorial.

The memorial is one of the oldest in Australia.

"It was erected in May of 1900, in memory of a soldier from Shellharbour who was killed in the Boer War," Warilla RSL Sub-Branch treasurer Allan Hurrell said.

"The man [Samuel Charles Atchinson] was actually the fifth man from NSW to be killed in the Boer War, and Mr and Mrs O'Meley who donated towards the restoration are direct descendants of him."

Besides the O'Meley family, a number of businesses and associations across Shellharbour donated towards the project.

"The Sub-Branch decided that we were going to restore the monument no matter what and that we would fund-raise to be able to do so," Mr Hurrell said.

"It was a lot of money, but then the state government came along with $10,000, and then Shellharbour Workers Club, the Bendigo Bank, Warilla Bowling Club, Warilla Sports Club, the Tongarra Historical Society and the O'Meleys donated large sums."

Thanks to the restoration, the memorial now also commemorates the men and women who have served in conflicts since World War II.

"The plaques that were on the memorial had been damaged so much that they had to be replaced," Mr Hurrell said.

"Unfortunately, because of how many people from the area have served since World War II, there's not enough space to fit all the names, so we had a plaque put on with the tri-service badge to commemorate those who have served sine 1945 and those who will serve in the future."

The Sub-Branch hopes the restored memorial will again result in an increase in attendance at their Dawn Service.

"We started it five or six years ago and back then we had 10 or 15 people showing up," Mr Hurrell said. "Now it's growing and growing and we're getting up to 500 people each year, and we hope to see that number continue to rise."

■ The Warilla RSL Sub-Branch's Dawn Service will begin at 6.30am on Friday.

Members only will be invited for refreshments afterwards.

The Illawarra Branch of the Vietnam Veterans Association will host an Anzac Eve Service at the Vietnam War Memorial on Flagstaff Hill on Thursday, April 24 at 6.30pm. All welcome.

After the service there will be a light supper and refreshments at the B Company 4th/3rd Battalion RNSWR Depot at 91 Gipps Street, Wollongong. Members and guests are welcome.

For the Illawarra Anzac Day March, marchers and bands form up at the southern end of Church Street, Wollongong, from 9.30am for step-off at 10am.

The Illawarra Commemoration Service will be held in the Wollongong Town Hall, Burelli Street, starting at 11am.

The public is welcome. After the service all are welcome for refreshments at the City Diggers Club.

Albion Park RSL will host a Dawn Service at Darcy King Memorial Garden, corner of Tongarra Road and Hamilton Road, Albion Park, at 4.30am. Breakfast will be available at the Albion Park RSL Memorial Club after the service. All are welcome.

City of Wollongong RSL Sub-Branch will hold a March and Dawn Service at the Wollongong Cenotaph, McCabe Park, at 5.45am.

Marchers are to assemble outside the City Diggers Club at 5.30am.

There will be a Commemorative Service at the Wall of Remembrance, Shellharbour City Civic Centre, Memorial Drive, at 7.45am. The service will include a flyover by the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society.

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