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New monument for Bourke cenotaph

Jamahl Smith, Brett McInerney, Luke Milgate and Richard Stutchbury at the newly-installed monument. Photo TWH

The beautiful new war memorial monument at the Bourke Cenotaph. Photo TWH

Bourke Shire Council has installed a new granite monument at the Bourke Cenotaph in time for Anzac Day.

The monument is made up of a granite statue of the iconic ‘Waler’ horse used in the First World war – especially the Middle East.

The Walers were also used in the charge of the light horse at Beersheba in 1917 – an Australian breed of horse developed from horses that were brought to the Australian colonies in the 19th century.

The name comes from their breeding origins in New South Wales; as they were originally known as “New South Walers”.

The memorial is a three-piece granite structure with a ‘waler’ horse looking down at a lone slouch hat.

Sculptor Richard Stutchbury said the work is meant to reflect the fellowship of horse and human in the outback.

“The emotion of the horse’s gaze reflects the feeling of losing a mate,” Richard said.

“‘Service to country’ and ‘mateship’ are the intended sentiments of the work – both sentiments are part of the Bourke way and are commonplace, and treasured aspects of daily life in the outback”.

Two granite ‘sentry posts have also been placed along the walkway from the Central Park rotunda, as an entry to the Cenotaph precinct.

Bourke Shire Council General Manager Leonie Brown said that council had been planning an upgrade of the Cenotaph Precinct since 2018.

“It’s fantastic to see the monument on the ground and fantastic to see the effort put into the monument by Sculptor Richard Stutchbury and the team of workers led by Luke Milgate,” Mr Brown said.

“Richard’s flair and creativity in preparing the monument have been matched by some great work by Luke, Jamahl Smith, and Brett McInerney.

The new Cenotaph monument features the words and numbers ‘Mates 840’ to reflect on the themes of country, mates, luck, and home.

‘840’ comes from the Bourke postcode without the generic 2 and represents the ‘Bourke 840 mob’ looking out for each other and remembering mates!

The monument is made of Harcourt grey granite from near the town of Harcourt near Bendigo in Victoria, which is a traditional choice for monumental stone masonry.

It’s the same granite as the original Bourke Cenotaph obelisk and the same granite as found at Moruya on the south coast of NSW which was used in the construction of the pillars of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Funding for the project was made available through the NSW state government under stage 2 of Bourke Shire Council’s ‘Bourke Business District Regeneration project’.

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