Quest to find the district's missing war memorials

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 11:58 09/04/2014
Southland Times photo
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ
Ann Robbie is searching for missing war memorials that once adorned Invercargill Railway, Mabel Bush church and the gates of Waipango School.

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The hunt is on for missing Southland war memorials.

More than 400 Southland war memorials have been catalogued to be part of a new online database but those searching have discovered evidence that others existed but have not been uncovered.

Ann Robbie, who came up with the idea in 2003 to document memorials, is now being helped by Kia Mate Toa convener Aaron Fox, Venture Southland and the Southland Regional Heritage Committee.

Her passion for war memorials started about 40 years ago, when she started playing bagpipes at Southland Anzac services.

Robbie and Fox recently discovered two honour roll monuments, featured on old postcards, were missing from the database.

They believed one was from the former Hokonui hall, while the other belonged to the Invercargill Railway and had the names of railway workers.

The last time the railway memorial was seen was about 30 years ago in storage at a depot.

Memorial gates at Wild Bush School in Waipango needed restoring but were missing the original iron gates.

An old photo shows large iron gates hanging from the memorial pillars and Robbie wants help to find them.

She is also searching for photos of old memorials known to have been destroyed.

This includes a memorial that once adorned the wall of Mabel Bush church, which was taken down when it closed in the 1970s. It was left in a garage but was destroyed by a flood.

She has one photo taken at a distance during a wedding (between Campbell and Nicholl) in 1935 but wants to find a close up photo that shows more detail.

She was aware that a memorial at Myross Bush School had been used as firewood and wondered whether anyone had a photo of it.

"I'm also interested to know if Tisbury School had a memorial and what happened to Western District sub Union rugby memorial shield from 1915."

Fox hoped people would look in sheds and under hall stages for memorials that may have been forgotten, and to rummage through photo albums.

He urged Southlanders who had stories about family members serving in wars to come forward to share the stories on the database.

 

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