Desert Corps Memorial

Desert Corps MemorialNeil McKnight668 x 380 px. 51.4 Kb.

Local Gem
Sensational South Coast

Desert Corps Memorial

The De­sert Moun­ted Corps Mem­orial on Mount Clar­ence is a 9-metre bronze statue com­mem­orat­ing Australian and New Zealand troops who died during World War I.

The idea for a mem­orial was sugges­ted as early as 1916 by Australian and New Zealand soldiers based in Egypt, with the soldiers themselves rais­ing 5,400 pounds for its con­struc­tion. The Com­monwealth pro­vided a further 11,600 pounds and offered a 250 guinea prize for a suit­able de­sign.

Work began in 1923 but pro­gressed slow­ly. On November 23, 1932, the finished statue was un­veiled at Port Said in Egypt, at the ent­r­ance to the Suez Canal.

On Dec­ember 26, 1956, Egyptians, un­happy with British con­trol of the Canal, tore the statue down, smash­ing it with rocks and hammers, damag­ing it beyond re­pair.

The Australian and new Zealand govern­ments re­ques­ted the re­mains of the monu­ment to be re­turned to Australia, where a re­place­ment would be built.

The Australian and New Zealand RSL chose Albany as the new loca­tion as it was the gather­ing point for the ANZAC convoy that took the troops to Egypt.

The new statue, on the orig­inal granite base, was un­veiled on October 11, 1964, by Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies.

A copy of this monu­ment also stands in Canberra, un­veiled on August 19, 1968.

Today the De­sert Corps Mem­orial is the focal point of the annual ANZAC dawn service, in memory of those lost during times of war. Bullet marks from the 1956 upris­ing are still visible on the granite base.

The De­sert Corps Mem­orial is adjac­ent to the Padre White Look­out, offer­ing spect­acular views over King George Sound, and is part of the Albany Herit­age Park Pre­cinct.

Article updated 15/10/2015.