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The Macleay Island Cenotaph has had a major upgrade that is literally the ‘icing on the cake’.

A spectacular carved sandstone cross with a stunning bronze sword attached, has been added to the top of the wonderfully located cenotaph at Pat’s Park on Macleay Island.

The addition to the cenotaph came about due to an ‘incident’ that involved the monument, concerning health and safety issues.

Macleay Island RSL Cub Branch secretary, Sandy Freeleagus, told the Friendly Bay Islander that the sub branch came to a decision that an ‘addition’ to the top of the cenotaph could correct the problem, and add to the design impact.

“It looked bare.

“This came to a head when we found a parent placing their child on top of the sandstone monument as a ‘punishment’ for being naughty,” he said.

To gain inspiration, Sandy ‘surfed’ the internet looking at various cenotaphs around the world to get an overall conception of what was needed.

“I found the Cross of Sacrifice.

“This was a prominent feature of all Commonwealth War Cemeteries.

“It was designed in 1918 by Sir Reginald Blomfield and consists of a large cross of a Latin form but with Celtic proportions.

“Superimposed on this cross is the Sword of Sacrifice. This is a bronze long sword with the blade pointing downwards,” Sandy Freelagus said.

Apparently this monument can be found in War Cemeteries of 40+ war graves and is most prevalent in the Commonwealth War Cemeteries on the Western Front in France.

The design has been largely copied world wide and is of a most imposing nature.

Sandy continued: “To update the Cenotaph, the Macleay Island RSL Sub Branch discovered that because the original sandstone monument (the existing Cenotaph) was not completely sealed during its build, the logos of the Navy, Army and the RAAF were almost eroded away.

“We purchased bronze relief logos to replace the faded ones which left us with one blank face on the monument.

“This was covered with a bronze relief plaque of a 303 rifle and bayonet with the Light Horse feathered slouch hat,” he said.

It is no surprise that the island’s returned service men and women of the Macleay Island RSL Sub Branch are satisfied and very proud of what has been achieved.

It is a beautiful and stunning upgrade to an already proud island cenotaph that rightly remembers the many Australians who made the ultimate sacrifice in world conflicts.

• Members of the Macleay RSL Sub Branch in front of the revamped Cenotaph at Pat’s Park. INSET: the cross and sword addition on the top!

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