As I drove into Ulverstone, on my first trip to Tasmania in 1965, I became aware of something huge looming over the houses. I turned a corner, and there it was, in the middle of the main street, the traffic, such as it was, dribbling around it. I had never seen anything like it, and still haven't.
I drew a picture of it, which many years later I gave to Stephen Murray-Smith, who published it in Overland. I no longer have that issue of Overland, so I don't know what was said about it there. Meantime, in the Society of Editors Newsletter, I had speculated that it was constructed by Ancient Astronauts. I don't know its history, frankly, and would appreciate hearing from anyone who does.
In mid-2002 my sister and brother-in-law, Ruth and Barry Kirsten, made their first trip to Tasmania, and I implored them, no matter where else they went, to visit Ulverstone and photograph the war memorial, if only to prove that I hadn't dreamt it. And so they did.
My reading of this extraordinary monument is that the three massive pillars fairly obviously represent the Australian Navy, Army and Air Force; the huge chains that link them, um, link them; the four clocks may represent Age (Which Shall Not Weary Them, Nor The Years Condemn); and the dome or cupola may or may not represent the Eternal Flame of remembrance and things. The bit on top, just visible in the photo, may be a smallish cross or a lightning conductor, or both. Awesome.
Most of Australia's war memorials have a statue of a lone soldier, with head bowed over a reversed rifle. There are three identical statues within two miles of where I live. And the same statue is here in Ulverstone, dwarfed by all that masonry, as you may be able to see in this detail of Barry's photo.



I believe, but cannot at the moment confirm, that the original statue, of which the thousands around Australia are copies, is of a South African soldier.
That aside, the good citizens of Ulverstone are compelled to agree with Laurence Binyon that "At the going down of the sun and in the morning / We will remember them." And every other time of day as well.


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