The Chronicle

Anzac memorial unveiled

CLUNES man Gary Lovell did not sleep the night after he was asked why his village did not have its own war memorial.

It was Anzac Day this year and the Vietnam veteran could not come up with any answer other than to ask himself, 'Yes, why doesn't it?'

What followed was a massive effort by the small community to raise $1500 in just five weeks - enough for the residents to get their own memorial, with a little left over to donate to local community groups.

“It is really something special,” Mr Lovell said.

“The businesses donated money and then we put a bucket in the general store for donations.

“I'd go in there and look in the bucket to see that people were putting 10s and 20s in there. It just shows what a community can do if it works together, and that's the kind of community Clunes has.”

Yesterday, more than 200 people gathered at Clunes Village Park to unveil the memorial, which was built by local father and son team Peter and Tom Sheraton.

The service included singing by Clunes Public School students, wreath laying, speeches by school captains Zac Gambley and Emily Kerrison, as well as by Lismore Catholic Diocese Rev Graeme Davis CSM.

Mr Lovell said he had originally contacted the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs to enquire about getting a grant for the memorial, however decided it would be better for the community to tackle the project itself.

“If we had tried to get a grant we would probably still be going through red tape,” he said.

“It's nice that the community has dug so deep.

“It's important that we did this because almost every other town has one, and there are a lot of people in Clunes who have served their country. It's important to recognise them.”

Resident Graeme Hancock, whose great-grandfather named the village of Clunes about 128 years ago, said he was proud of the residents who had worked together on the project.

“It's terrific the community got together,” he said.

“It is projects like these that bring communities even closer.”

Mr Hancock's great-grandfather, an engineer named Alfred Smith, came to Clunes in 1880 with his friend Robert Mortimer Clunes.

Mr Clunes left, but Mr Smith stayed behind and renamed the village, which was then called Ferndale, after Mr Clunes.

The engraving on the memorial reads: 'Clunes District - In honour of those who served the country in times of conflict and peace.

'Their service to Australia is our heritage.

'Lest we forget.'

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