“ the desire to make sense of ourselves includes the need to place ourselves into a narrative – of our own lives, our family histories and our cultural identities.” Anna Clark - Private Lives and Public History
The research on this website, which is presently being redeveloped to document the history of Anzac Parade, is also featured in a developing story series on the New South Wales War Memorials Register, part of an ongoing collaboration with the NSW Office for Veterans Affairs.
Anzac Parade stretches from Moore Park to La Perouse, Sydney.
In 1917 Randwick Road was renamed Anzac Parade by The Lord Mayor of Sydney, Alderman Meagher, who said that “ eventually there would be a continuous thoroughfare over six miles long from Moore Park right to the La Perouse monument”.
The Anzac Parade Memorial Obelisk which was erected at the northern end of the parade was unveiled by the Lady Mayoress.
The Memorial Obelisk together with Anzac Parade and its Memorial Grove of Trees became the diggers' own ANZAC memorial. Subsequent commemorations held at the Obelisk and in the surrounding Parklands were less formal than the official services of the day and were very much a family affair. They afforded diggers and their families a sense of place for the remembrance of the fallen. Local school children too were actively involved. Many veterans returned here until the last of the ANZAC diggers died.
There are many more monuments along the length of Anzac Parade in memory of those who served and died in the First World War, as well as in World War Two and the Korean War. There are also many sites of significance which tell the story of local events that took place before, during and after the First World War which are now largely forgotten. This website will document what is known about those sites and add more information as it comes to light.
It is hoped these stories will help people appreciate the local history surrounding Anzac Parade which relate particularly to the First World War. Such knowledge may help people relate more easily to the written history of the war and to appreciate some of the implications for those who served overseas as well as the impact on families of those who died in action and those who returned home.
The story of Anzac Parade is not the only forgotten story. There is a far older one which should not be forgotten either - of the people on whose ancestral lands these more recent events took place.
Although their numbers were dwindling, the tradition of marking Anzac Day at the Memorial Obelisk continued until the last of the diggers had died. It was their own memorial – the place past which they had marched as young men and the place to which they had returned throughout their lives to remember those who had fallen.
‘Up until the last of the ANZACS there used to still be gatherings out at the Anzac Obelisk. As much as it was in the middle of the road, they would have little gatherings on the side of the road. So, we see it as a memorial grove of trees, with the Anzac Parade as a pavement and a memorial called the Anzac Obelisk.’ Rod White. State President. NSW RSL. Radio National 2016.
In (circa) 1998 the Obelisk was moved approximately 330 metres south to allow for the construction of the Anzac Parade portal of the Eastern Distributor and in 2014 it was removed to protect it from the construction in 2015 of the Albert ‘Tibby’ Cotter Bridge, a pedestrian bridge built primarily to cater for crowds coming from and going to the Sydney Cricket Ground and the Sydney Football Stadium.
‘Tibby’ Cotter was an Australian cricketer who played in 21 Tests between 1904 and 1912 He served with the First AIF, and was killed in action in the mounted charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade at Beersheba.
In 2017, at the Centenary of the naming of Anzac Parade, The Obelisk was relocated to its present position in Moore Park. A commemorative Aleppo pine tree was planted nearby in 2019.
In 2019 another pedestrian bridge was built across Anzac Parade. While the ‘Tibby’ Cotter walkway is used by a small percentage of visitors to Moore Park, it was expected that the Doctor Agnes Bennett Bridge would be better patronised because it links a stop on the light rail line to Sydney Boys High School and Sydney Girls High School - government selective schools on the opposite side of Anzac Parade.
Agnes Bennett attended Sydney Girls High School. In 1915 she became the first female commissioned officer in the British Army, when as a captain she worked as a medical officer in war hospitals in Cairo. Wikipedia.
Now, a little more than 100 years later, there is no evidence that Moore Park was the centre of so much important activity in the preparation for the First World War.
All that is left of that memory is enshrined in the re-located Memorial Obelisk, the Aleppo pine nearby and, a recent annual Dawn Service organised and attended by local residents.
Compiled by Margaret Hope – daughter of Robert Hope 1st Div. Artillery AIF 1916-1918