Man on the Monument
Published on 20 November 2023
UPDATE 29th NOVEMBER 2023
A site assessment has been performed and we have had to postpone once again. We know there is much anticipation to see the Man on the Monument in place, and we thank you for your patience and understanding. Another date will be set in the very near future!
UPDATE 29th NOVEMBER 2023
You may have noticed there is calm at the roundabout today, but we have been delayed once more by the very welcome wet weather.
At the time of writing, we have Carl Valerius booked in for tomorrow (Thursday 30th), pending a site assessment and no further rain.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
The “Man on the Monument” is poised to stand tall once more in the heart of Walgett. Our soldier, a silent witness to nearly a century of history, endured irreparable damage during a truck incident on 29th July 2021.
The original monument which was unable to be returned to its former glory has been restored as much as possible and has found its resting place at the Walgett Memorial Park.
An exact replica has been crafted by nationally acclaimed sculptor Carl Valerius. Valerius, renowned for his expertise in working with bronze, stone, wax and various materials, has completed a stunning rendition of the soldier using marble sourced from Italy. Despite delays in the supply chain, preventing the originally planned unveiling in 2022, Carl has persevered in bringing this iconic figure back to the community.
As the Man on the Monument is installed this week, please be aware of changed traffic conditions in the area. Your cooperation and understanding are greatly appreciated.
A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY:
Unveiled in 1922, the imposing lone soldier on the Walgett Memorial Monument stood proudly for a century in the centre of a well-used roundabout at the intersection of the Castlereagh Highway and Wee Waa Street.
The marble soldier was imported from France and the monument originally recorded the names of the men who voluntarily left the district to take part in World War One.
In late July 2021 an incident with a turning B triple combination truck saw the monument struck and the marble soldier and plinth topple from its base.
It is now hoped that the town will be graced by the presence of not one, but two, of the soldiers.
At the time of the incident Walgett Shire Council General Manager, Mike Urquhart advised that a structural engineer would be engaged to assess the remaining sections of the monument to ensure its structural integrity has not been compromised, and Council would work closely with the Walgett RSL Sub branch and insurers on the restoration project.
Not quite two years later and Mr Urquhart reports good progress has been made and that the monument will be restored to its former glory – even if the soldier isn’t the original one.
Sculptor, Carl Valerious who was engaged by Council has repaired the original soldier and taken a fibreglass mould, which has been digitized in Melbourne in readiness to cut out the new Soldier who will take pride of place on the roundabout.
Mr Valerious said the transportation of the marble from Italy had been a logistical nightmare, however it recently arrived safely in Sydney and is now on its way to Melbourne for the cutting out process.
But the original soldier will be returning to Walgett also, hopefully in time for Anzac Day in April.
“All going well, both soldiers will be standing proud for Anzac Day 2023,” Mr Urquhart said.
“Council plans to have the original soldier located in Memorial Park with some interpretive signage explaining his life in Walgett and his reconstruction after the truck incident that occurred on the 29th July 2021.”
When Mr Valerious delivers the twin soldiers he will also undertake a clean-up of the monument before installing a brand-new marble base for the new Soldier to stand on as he takes his post.