Maintaining our memorials
Missing Victoria Cross restored
A Victoria Cross long missing from the Glebe War Memorial has been reinstalled following a meticulous City of Sydney restoration project as part of the Anzac centenary.
When the tribute to local soldiers killed during the Great War was completed in Foley Park, Glebe, in 1922, a bronze Victoria Cross sat on top, proudly clasped to a marble orb.
But the cross, which symbolises the highest military decoration for valour “in the face of the enemy” for Australian servicemen and women, mysteriously disappeared decades ago.
To restore its original glory, the City engaged heritage conservators to oversee the reproduction of the missing piece for Anzac centenary year celebrations.
Specialist metal-artists reproduced the missing Glebe memorial Victoria Cross by taking a mould from one that sits atop the Mascot War Memorial, which was designed by the same architect, William Martin, who was also a local Alderman and anti-conscription campaigner in the 1920s.
Craftsmen from Crawford’s Casting, which made both bronze Diggers on the Anzac bridge, used a cherry picker to reach the orb 7m above Mascot Memorial Park, where they prepared a silicon rubber mould in March.
They then cast the new cross and clasp over 4 weeks in their Sydney foundry in a process that saw a compound of copper, silicon and manganese heated to a temperature of 1,240 degrees Celsius for pouring.
One of Australia’s most unusual memorials
A bronze nurse sculpture is the face of the mausoleum-style Egyptian temple that overlooks the names of 174 Glebe residents who perished from the 792 who enlisted in World War I.
In 2016, replacement busts of an Australian soldier and sailor were hand carved from Italian Carrara marble as part of the City's restoration work to the memorial.
Local historian Max Solling said the current works would ensure it was in pristine condition for the Anzac centenary.
“It’s fantastic – they are doing an outstanding restoration job,” he said.
Ahead of the Anzac centenary, work is underway across the City of Sydney to return numerous war memorials to their former condition and ensure they are conserved for future generations.
The condition of each memorial will be assessed before surfaces are cleaned and any corroson is treated.
Stone plinths and plaques will be cleaned and memorials treated with 2 coats of protective wax to ensure their longevity.
The following war memorials will be preserved with the help of conservation consultants enlisted by the City:
- Glebe War Memorial, Foley Park
- First World War Memorial to Pyrmont-Ultimo Servicemen, Pyrmont
- Oddfellows Memorial, Hyde Park
- German SMS Emden gun in Hyde Park, sunk by HMAS Sydney
- WWI Soldiers Memorial, Woolloomooloo
- World War I Memorial, Redfern Park
- The Artillery Gun, Redfern Park
- Newtown War Memorial, King Street
- Paddington War Memorial, Oxford Street
- The Cenotaph, Martin Place
- Archibald Memorial Fountain, Hyde Park
Local historian Max Solling at the restored Glebe War Memorial
Last updated: Friday, 3 March 2017