Hills pays tribute to soldiers at honour boards unveiling

Published on 16 November 2018

Honour Board unveiling with Mayor Byrne, Pam Wilson, Don Tait, Alex Hawke MP and Bryan Mullan.jpg

Honour boards recognising Hills locals who served in the Boer War and World War One (WW1), were unveiled during a special ceremony at The Hills Shire Council on Thursday, November 8.

Mayor of The Hills Shire, Dr Michelle Byrne said as “centenary commemorations of Australia’s involvement in WW1 are now drawing to an end, it’s fitting to remember the selfless contribution of our dedicated Hills residents to the war effort”.

“It’s important that we remember the sacrifices that were made to protect our values, our freedom and our beliefs, and the legacy that these brave individuals left behind,” she said.

“On the boards, there are 576 brave residents who have been listed and we’ve looked at our local population figures during the Boer War and WW1. In 1911, our population was at 3483 and in 1921 it stood at 5113 [according to Census data]. That’s about 10 per cent of our population that went to war. That’s a massive amount when you think about it. 

“But their sacrifices have not been forgotten and have had a lasting impact on our community. I think they’ve set us on the path that we are on today, especially in terms of serving others. And certainly The Hills is a community that serves others. We have more than 800 community groups and Council has more than 1000 volunteers, and I think that’s reflective of what these men and women left for us.

“I want to thank Castle Hill RSL sub-Branch, The Hills District Historical Society and Special Minister of State and Federal Member for Mitchell, the Hon. Alex Hawke MP for all their hard work in making these honour boards come to fruition,” Mayor Byrne said. 

Alex Hawke MP said the honour boards not only served as recognition of the sacrifices of Hills residents, but provided a personalised story behind each person who went to war.

“Each one of those names represents a great history of personal sacrifice and a lived experience that current and future generations can reflect upon,” Mr Hawke said.  

“I want to thank everyone involved in this project and the Federal Government for providing funding to restore these beautiful honour boards,” Mr Hawke added. 

President of the Centenary of ANZAC committee, retired Colonel Don Tait OAM echoed similar sentiments.

“I would like to thank Bryan Mullan and several of the Castle Hill RSL sub-Branch ANZAC Ambassadors for proofing the initial work,” Mr Tait said.

“Mr Bill Dokter for organising the manufacturing of the boards, and the Mayor and Council who provided incredible support throughout the project.

“And Minister Hawke for the Armistice Grant that paid for the boards,” Mr Tait added.

Two honour boards were unveiled during the ceremony.

They list the names of 560 local servicemen of World War 1 and 16 local servicemen of the Boer War. 

The project, which was funded through the Federal Government’s Armistice Centenary Grant Program, started in 1990 with The Hills District Historical Society finding and listing names of those who had fought in the wars. 

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