Recognition of War Memorial – Callan Park
Friends of Callan Park (FOCP) want to see the unique ‘Harbour Bridge’ War Memorial at Callan Park conserved and protected.
The memorial is a replica of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and was completed in 1931, the year before the actual Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened.
It was unveiled by the Governor of NSW, Sir Philip Game, on 4 August 1931 on the Veterans site.
The memorial is currently located in front of Repat B Ward on the southern side of the Waterfront Oval.
Douglas Grant, an Indigenous WW1 veteran, designed the memorial and constructed it with the help
Photo: J Ridding, 2007
of other veterans residing in the Repatriation wards at Callan Park. A number of wards were built along the foreshore specifically for war veterans.
“Friends of Callan Park have been active in seeking the care, restoration and protection of this wonderful memorial to our ex-service personnel. We have arranged for temporary protection of the memorial but are seeking assistance from Council to ensure the appropriate ongoing recognition and protection of the memorial.” according to the Acting President of FOCP, John Stamolis.
Many of the buildings in this part of Callan Park housed repatriation soldiers, men who returned from war suffering from shell shock – often described as chronic nerve cases.
Douglas Grant (of the 13th Battalion, like W. T. Shirley who built the Sphinx memorial at Turramurra) lived at Callan Park and built a replica of the Sydney Harbour Bridge as a War Memorial and, with other patients of B Ward, erected the Memorial.
On 4 August 1931, the 17th anniversary of the beginning of the war, the Governor, Sir Philip Game, unveiled the memorial. He declared it was a symbol of unity and hoped it would stand for years ‘as an inspiration to you all to do what you did during the four years of the war, and have been doing ever since – sticking it out in the good old Australian and British way’. Patients applauded and the Governor planted a wattle.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 August 1931 – Douglas Grant second right
Douglas Grant was a man of Aboriginal parentage and white Australian upbringing who joined the AIF and became a prisoner at Bullecourt. After the war he worked as a labourer at Lithgow and was secretary of the loc
al RSL. Douglas Grant drank heavily and the cottages at Callan Park were a sanctuary for he and the other men of the Lost Legion.
He was bitter about the fate of returned soldiers and Aborigines and wrote about “A Broken Pledge”.
Extract from Sacred Places, War Memorials in the Australian Landscape, K. S. Inglis assisted by Jan Brazier, Miegunyah Press at Melbourne University Press, 1998, p243
St Johns Church of England at Birchgrove and St Marys Church of England at Balmain East also have WW1 Honour Rolls ,My grandfather Frederick Francis Cameron Lincoln is on the Honour Roll at St Johns and his young brother David Spence Lincoln who died in France on the 4 August 1916 aged 18 years and 10 months ( grave unknown ) is on the Honour Roll at St Marys . I believe Davids mother died of a broken heart as she passed away in 1920 aged 47 years old and after reading her pleas to the War authorities for any thing of Davids to please return to her I feel this could have contributed to hern early death . Davids story is heartfelt as he tried to sign up over 5 times to go to fight for his country , his great grandfather was James Slater one of the early families of Balmain . Our lincoln relations still live in my great grandfathers house in 89 Mort St Balmain
The 3 Lincoln men who served in WW1 should be on the War Memorial in Darling st Balmain as all from Balmain who served this country . Some never came back as David Spence Lincoln aged 19 years the youngest of the Lincoln brothers was killed at the SOMME , France , maybe some day the memorial to all that went from the Balmain area will be acknowledged , LEST WE FORGET