100 years on, Memory Park still plays important role in our city

Mayor Tricia Hitchen at Memory Park on Tuesday. Photo: Melinda Jane.
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The efforts of past service personnel were commemorated when the Penrith War Memorial in Memory Park was rededicated on Tuesday.

The event, which was conducted by City of Penrith RSL Sub-Branch and Penrith City Council, honoured the 100-year anniversary of the memorial with speeches and laying of wreaths.

First discussed and planned from 1915, the memorial was unveiled on July 8, 1922, by the State Governor Sir Walter Davidson.

Addressing a group of veterans at the event, Penrith Mayor Tricia Hitchen said the memorial had evolved over the last century with different upgrades and rededications occurring at different points.

A new rededication plaque has been unveiled in Memory Park. Photo: Melinda Jane.

“Memory Park was originally built in memory of all of those from the Penrith district who fought and died for our country in World War I, but as the years progressed more conflicts occurred,” Cr Hitchen said.

“The function of the park became a salute to not only those who served in the First World War but also as a salute to Australian soldiers who served in other conflicts including the Second World War, Korea, Malaya and Vietnam.”

Cr Hitchen said the memorial and what it stands for signifies the importance of looking to history for a better future.

“This is important particularly as there is war going on and it is supposed to be on our doorstep soon, so I think it is important we remember the past and the cost of war so we can learn from history,” she said.

The opening of Memory Park in 1922. Photo: Penrith City Library.

“I don’t think there is a family in Penrith that hasn’t been touched by one of the wars in their past, so this gives them a place to reflect and think.”

With a new plaque being unveiled, Penrith RSL Sub-Branch President Brian Cartwright said the rededication ceremony is an important custom to continue.

“We are talking about remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the country so the least we can do is commemorate and remember them, not just on ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day as we do,” Mr Cartwright said.

“Today is a significant event. The city is dedicating and recognising those 45 who never came back from World War I, so I think doing simple things like a rededication ceremony goes a long way in remembering them.”

In an ever-changing city, Mr Cartwright said the Sub-Branch will work to ensure that the military history is maintained.

“As the current custodians we are tasked with preserving and protecting our military history and the memory of those who came before,” he said.

“So, I like to think with Council and the Sub-Branch continuing to work together as we have done that Memory Park and the memorial will endure for another 100 years.”

The opening of Memory Park in 1922. Photo: Penrith City Library.

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