BARGARA’S MEMORIAL INSCRIPTION – WHERE DID IT COME FROM?

I’ve been asked a few times where the inscription on the east face of Bargara’s new war memorial came from so I thought that I’d post the reply here.

When I was researching the design of the memorial I was looking for something that brought a ‘personal’ aspect and a connection to the theme of the Unknown Soldier. Something that would entice the reader to think a bit deeper about those ordinary men and women who gave so much.

I found the following verse ‘At The Going Down Of The Sun’ which hangs in the former offices of the Queensland State Headquarters of the RSL located in a room under the Shrine of Remembrance. Unfortunately, no-one seems to know who the author is or where it came from although it was obviously written after the Second World War.

The selected text was reviewed by representatives of various stakeholders including the RSL, a number of Service Organisations & Councillors before being confirmed and I’m grateful for their assistance.

This is the complete verse ….

At the going down of the sun

I crouched in a shallow trench on that hell of exposed beaches… steeply rising foothills bare of cover… a landscape pockmarked with war’s inevitable litter… piles of stores… equipment… ammunition… and the weird contortions of death sculptured in Australian flesh… I saw the going down of the sun on that first ANZAC Day… the chaotic maelstrom of Australia’s blooding.

I fought in the frozen mud of the Somme… in a blazing destroyer exploding on the North Sea… I fought on the perimeter at Tobruk… crashed in the flaming wreckage of a fighter in New Guinea… lived with the damned in the place cursed with the name Changi.

I was your mate… the kid across the street… the med. student at graduation… the mechanic in the corner garage… the baker who brought you bread… the gardener who cut your lawn… the clerk who sent your phone bill.

I was an Army private… a Naval commander… an Air Force bombardier.  no man knows me… no name marks my tomb, for I am every Australian serviceman… I am the Unknown Soldier.

I died for a cause I held just in the service of my land… that you and yours may say in freedom… I am proud to be an Australian.

 

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