Desert Corps Memorial
local gem

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.

updated 01/11/2019