Cenotaph centenary celebrated

August 3, 2022 BY

Lest we forget: The Borough community will mark 100 years of the Eaglehawk War Memorial with a new plaque to be unveiled on Friday. Photo: MATTINBGN/ WIKIMEDIA

ONE-hundred years ago the Eaglehawk war memorial was unveiled to honour those who died in World War one.

Now, it’s getting an update with more recent information and a plaque acknowledging the service of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans, as well as those who’ve served in peacekeeping operations around the world.

Chair of the RSL Eaglehawk subcommittee and president of the Bendigo Vietnam Veterans’ Association, Paul Penno, said the memorial serves as a reminder of the grief and destruction associated with war.

“Eaglehawk had a population of 8000 in 1915,” Mr Penno said. “Four thousand of those were men and women were over 21, 2000 of them were men, and 900 of those 2000 went to war. That’s massive.

“To have 900 young men go off to war and 100 of them not come back, 200 of them were severely wounded physically and mentally, we couldn’t contemplate what that must’ve done to the community.”

A Vietnam veteran himself, Mr Penno said the memorial holds a special place in the community’s collective hearts, proven by the reception of Eaglehawk’s dawn services.

“With the monument under those gum trees in front of the old town hall, it’s a very poignant atmosphere, it’s really loaded,” he said.

“As a result, we get 700 to 800 people turn up to gather around that monument and reflect and experience that dawn service. It really is a focal point for remembering for us in Eaglehawk.”

To mark the occasion, a special centenary service will take place on Friday at 10.45am at the war memorial on the corner of Peg Leg and Sailors Gully roads.