War Memorial, Mosman

Bernard, 12 July 2012 · # ·

The second of the ‘main Memorials erected in the Municipality’ is the cenotaph at Mosman Park, home of Allan Border Oval.

George Franki notes1 in its design the influence of the Cenotaph by Sir Edwin Lutyens in London. This first monument ‘was initially set up to celebrate the victory… [but] the empty tomb… far away from the battlefield is quickly recognized by the relatives as a place where they can express their grief.’2

Here is what Jack Carroll writes in The Streets of Mosman:

On the 20th December, 1918, a Public Meeting was called to commemorate in some permanent form, all the Mosman residents who had fought in World War I, irrespective of from where they may have enlisted, or in which Branch of the Services they may have been engaged.

At the Meeting it was said: -

“2,400 years ago, there was erected at Marathon, a monument which stands and proclaims to all the World that there the Athenians first fought for Greece. We stand where stood the ancient Athenians. In this war, the Dominions (Australia foremost amongst them) fought not only for the British Empire, but for the preservation of the fabric of Civilisation itself. It is for us who have been witnesses to make the record imperishable. To do that the surest way is to erect a monument which is beautiful and enduring.”

With this inspiring beginning, the residents gave their fullest support and in a short time a prize of £50 was offered for the best design of a suitable Monument. Messrs. P. A. Kaad and W. Stanton Cook were the successful ones out of the 21 designs submitted, and a tender for £1,677 was let to Messrs. Loveridge and Hudson Ltd. for its erection. A further £304 was available for the necessary inscriptions and another £67 for adequate lighting. It is interesting to note that outside these amounts, the whole of the expenses were met by the accrued interest on the public donations.

A Church Service of “Thanksgiving for Peace” was held on the site on the 19th October, 1919, conducted by Captain-Chaplains H. Steele Craik and D. P. Macdonald, and the Reverends F. W. Reeve, T. E. Potts and Clive T. L. Yarrington.

On Armistice Day, 1922, a Dedicatory Stone was laid by Sir William Cullen, K.C.M.G., Chief Justice of New South Wales.

On the 8th November, 1925, the Memorial was unveiled by Major-General Sir Granville Ryrie, K.C.M.G., C.B., a great crowd attending.

Most of the work for its erection was done by the late J. E. Bishop of Killarney Street, and the late Colley Priest. As evidence of their world-wide search for Mosman residents who had served in the War, there are no less than 1,141 names inscribed.

The superscriptions on the Monument were specially written by Prof. J. Le Gay Brereton. It was handed over “to the Mosman Council to remain in their care for the People of Mosman for ever”. A really splendid and permanent effort. Mr Bishop deserves special mention as he carried the poignant memory that two of the names are those of two of his sons “who did not return”.

Carroll, Jack & Mosman Historical Society 1981, The streets of Mosman, 2nd rev. ed, Mosman Historical Society, [Sydney]

The western face of the memorial records 200 names of the dead.

In August 2008, another name was added – CREW J. E. Joseph Edward Crew, a regular soldier, died at Passchendaele in 1917. Family tradition has it that his wife, Norah May, would not accept his death and lived in the hope that somehow he would return and she declined to have his name on the memorial. On 10 November 2008, after approaches by his descendants, his name was added to the war memorial with the cooperation of Mosman Council and Mosman RSL Sub-Branch.

George Franki, 2011

The other three sides of the obelisk record names of those from Mosman who volunteered and survived the War, although George Franki has identified many names not listed.

Twelve nurses are named on the War Memorial. Thanks to Dr Kirsty Harris, we can list them by the services these women belonged to:



Red Cross VAD

The names and inscriptions on each face are transcribed on this website – War Memorials in Australia – by Michael Southwell-Keely.

1 Franki, George 2011 Their Name Liveth for Evermore: Mosman’s Dead in the Great War 1914-1918

2 Geurst, Jeroen & Lutyens, Edwin Landseer Sir, 1869-1944 2010, Cemeteries of the Great War by Sir Edwin Lutyens, 010 Pub, Rotterdam


Mary Lou Byrne · 16 July 2012 · #

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Thank you for all that information. It has cleared up my confusion as I thought all the names on the cenotaph were those who had been killed, not just the one side of the monument and that would mean an awful lot of those who enlisted in Mosman.Dust off those stories clear up the facts roll on mosman1914-1918.net !

Bernard · 21 January 2013 · #

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Came across this item in the SLNSW catalogue today:

Silver trowel presented to Sir Wm. Cullen, K.C.M.G., on the occasion of placing the dedicatory stone of the Mosman Soldiers Memorial, November 11th, 1922 / Angus & Coote

Call Number R 692