Charleville First World War Memorial
The Charleville First World War Memorial, standing at more than seven metres in height, is one of the larger memorials of its type in Queensland. It is made predominantly of Italian marble, with a large pillar as the main feature, standing on a base step, the top of which is laid with light and dark tiles in a chequerboard pattern. The pillar bears the leaded names of those who served in the First World War, including those who gave their lives, for whom the front plaque is reserved. At the top of each face are carved shields bearing the stylised AIF insignia.
The memorial was constructed in Toowoomba by the well-known masonry firm of R,C. Ziegler and Son, which also produced many other memorials in south-western Queensland. As was the case with many other towns and cities, the funds required for the memorial were raised from within the local community. It was unveiled on 9th October 1924 by the then Governor of Queensland, Sir Matthew Nathan and specifically records the names of the 310 local residents who served, including the forty fallen. The inscription reads, “Erected by the citizens of Charleville and district and Charleville sub-branch of the R.S. & S.I.L.A. in honour of those who served in the Great War 1914-1919”. Also, heading the names are the words, “For God, King and Country – In Memoriam”. A cast iron fence was added at some time between 1925 and 1933. The base also displays plaques on all sides, commemorating later conflicts.
It is believed that the memorial was designed by the prominent Ipswich architect, George Brockwell Gill at a cost of around £1,000. The only other similar memorial is located at Esk, which is known with certainty to have been designed by Gill. The Charleville memorial is located in a dedicated park reserve, flanked by two guns and a flagstaff. Four granite digger statues representing a catafalque party, together with eight dividing granite bollards, were added to the memorial for ANZAC Day 2010.
This image, taken from the Queensland War Memorial Register, shows the memorial as it appears today. As well, in acknowledgement of the memorial’s importance in Queensland’s history and development, it has been included in the Queensland Heritage Register.
Brian Randall, Queensland Places Coordinator, State Library of Queensland.