A salute to Wodonga’s fallen wartime heroes

At a public meeting on 10 July 1922 to discuss the erection of a soldiers’ memorial at Wodonga a number of suggestions were offered including an archway over the new bridge across Wodonga Creek whilst Cr. Beardmore favoured the erection of a hall.

Mr. A J Schlink pointed out that the council had originally purchased the block of ground near Woodland Grove for the purpose of erecting a suitable memorial.

Several sums of money were held in different local patriotic funds and a council meeting decided a Committee be formed to secure all funds in hand for a specific memorial fund.

In September 1922 a deputation, which had been appointed at the public meeting, asked the Council if they were going ahead with the soldiers’ memorial otherwise the citizens would take the matter up and canvas the town.  The response was that the Council could not face the expenditure and it was resolved to support the citizens’ movement with the President and Councillors stating they would personally be pleased to aid and support the same.

Householder envelopes for subscriptions were distributed by post and Wodonga residents were urged to promote and contribute to the cause.

One of many other fundraising events was a Monster Carnival at the Racecourse on Monday 4th June 1923, King’s Birthday holiday, a procession through the streets was approved by the Council.  It was followed by a grand concert and dance in the evening.

In July 1924 the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express ran an article stating that a design had been accepted for the Wodonga Soldier Memorial, names of fallen soldiers were listed and additions sought.

Tuesday 18 November 1924 saw the unveiling of Wodonga’s soldiers’ memorial. “The pedestal of Harcourt granite, 9ft x 9ft at the base, rising in seven courses to a height of 10ft 2in, the emblems are of bronze.  The (soldier) figure is full life size, 6ft in height, in Sicilian marble, typical of the Australian soldier.”

Due to frequent vandalism and high cost of materials to repair, the soldier statue was removed in 1985 and later installed at the RSL Rooms.