Stage 2 of the Armistice Centenary War Memorial (ACWM) project at Belmont Shooting Complex is now nearing completion and being readied for Consecration on ANZAC Day 2022.
The ACWM project was originally the brainchild of former Queensland Rifle Association (QRA) president (Mr Johnno Johnstone OAM) who wanted to commemorate the more than 500 riflemen of the QRA who made the Supreme Sacrifice in the Great War of 1914-18.
Stage 1 of the project was completed in time for Remembrance Day 2018, the 100th Anniversary of the signing of the Armistice bringing hostilities to a close on the Western Front.
The ACWM project was initiated in 2017 with a grant from the Saluting Their Service programme administered by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Later, additional funding for the project was donated by the QRA, the Belmont Site Users’ Association (BUSA), the QRA Museum management committee and privately.
During Stage 1, the ACWM projects managers (the Commemorations Committee) took the decision to expand the intent of the ACWM to include all of the men and women from Australia’s many shooting disciplines who have served the Nation in peace and war. This duality of purpose is reflected in the inscription on the central memorial stone:-
Sacred to the memory of the more than 500 riflemen of the Queensland Rifle Association who gave their lives in the Great War of 1914-1918 for our freedom and the men and women of Australia from all shooting disciplines who have served in their Nation’s defence and through their sacrifices contributed to a lasting peace for the Australian people.
The memorial stone is centred in a circle of 11 clubs’ and associations’ sandstone plinths, recalling that it was at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 that the guns fell silent on the Western Front.
Stage 1 also included the construction of a Memorial Gateway at the primary entrance to Belmont Shooting Complex and adjacent to the ACWM war memorial Precinct. Affixed to the entrance piers of the Memorial Gate are two badges: a Crossed Rifles badge – the universal symbol of Riflemen around the world and another badge featuring the Great War 1914-18 surmounted by a laurel wreath.
To construct Stage 2 of the ACWM, the Commemorations Committee obtained a second grant from DVA’s Saluting Their Service programme. There was also additional financial support given to the project by QRA (which met the cost of electrical works) and BSUA, which generously matched DVA’s grant plus an additional amount for Contingency.
Although the allocated grant funds fell short of what was sought in the Commemorations Committee’s grant application, the Committee was nevertheless able to achieve much more than anticipated through judicious vetting of contractors’ quotations and amendments to the planned schedule of works.
Stage 2 of the project has enhanced the ACWM by the addition of:-
- Two memorial walls (30 metres in length) flanking the central war memorial constructed during Stage 1.
- The western memorial wall carries the inscription LEST WE FORGET and is affixed between two enlarged Rising Sun (AIF) badges recognising that many of the Fallen from both world wars served in the 1st and 2nd AIF.
- The northern memorial wall has been reserved for 12 individual plaques (Boer War to Afghanistan) naming Australia’s principal wars and campaigns since Federation. The recent callout of the ADF for the bushfire crisis and the military’s response to the Pandemic has now been recognised with an additional plaque for ADF Community Service.
- Installation of the three current ADF service badges in the centre of the wars and campaigns’ plaques on the northern memorial wall.
- The installation of an underground power line (100 metres from the mains take-off) to illuminate the two memorial walls from sunset to sunrise and to power a public address system used on ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day, and other commemorative occasions.
However, the Commemorations Committee will not be resting on its laurels after the planned Consecration of Stage 2 this coming ANZAC Day.
Already, the Committee has submitted this year’s grant application to DVA to complete more of the deferred Stage 2 schedule of works. Planning is also underway to construct two memorial walls (at the southern end of the ACWM Precinct) for individual plaques to commemorate deceased members of Belmont Shooting Complex who have passed away since the ACWM was established in 2018.
The success of the ACWM project can be gauged from the increasing numbers of people who are now attending the ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day services at the war memorial. Attendees include children from local schools and other youth groups. Veterans who attend services at the ACWM have made it known to the Commemorations Committee of their pleasure in seeing a new war memorial established at the centre of Belmont’s expanding residential catchment.
The Commemorations Committee has enjoyed generous support from DVA, QRA, BSUA, the QRA Museum and others including private donors, during the life of the project.
Chair of the Commemorations Committee retired Lieutenant Colonel (LTCOL) Bob Cramp acknowledged the support his Committee has received from these organisations during the project:-
“I would particularly like to acknowledge the financial and other support we have received from Mr Mark Farrow the president of BSUA and Mr Peter Doig, QRA’s Executive Officer. They put their weight behind the project from day one in 2017 and continue to support the valuable work of my Committee.
Also, I want to place on record my appreciation for the support the Committee receives from our politicians for the ACWM project. These include Mr Ross Vasta MP, the Federal member for Bonner, Mr Steve Minnikin MP, the State member for Chatsworth, the Lord Mayor of Brisbane – Cr Adrian Schrinner, local Chandler Ward representative Cr Ryan Murphy and Mr Robbie Katter MP, the State member for Traeger.”
Commemorations Committee Chair retired Lieutenant Colonel Cramp said that “the AWM project is a once in a lifetime opportunity to build better relations with the local community through shared commemorations at the ACWM involving the thousands of people who regularly use Belmont Shooting Complex and local residents.”