How Did it Get up here?
Some of you may be aware of the location of Diamond Creek’s war memorial but some people may not be aware that this is actually the cenotaph’s third location. The cenotaph was originally erected in the middle of the intersections of Main Road, Collins Street and Hyde Street in Diamond Creek.
The 1980’s saw the duplication of Main Road and Chute Street and with that a new location was required for the cenotaph. A new site was selected in Collins Street and it would share the site with a newly constructed Kindergarten and that is where it remained until 1996, when it was relocated once more to a more prominent location near the Diamond Creek Community Centre where additional granite plaques to commemorate the loss of life in all conflicts since the Great War of 1914-1918 were added to the cenotaph.
Fundraising began in November of 1919 for a WW1 soldiers memorial, honouring the local men that made the ultimate sacrifice and did not return home to their families in Diamond Creek. The result was a cenotaph comprising of English Red and Harcourt Granite and costing over £200 at the time.
On Sunday June 19th, 1921, the Governor of Victoria, the Earl of Stradbroke, unveiled the cenotaph erected to the memory of the Diamond Creek men who fell during the Great War.
A heavy machine gun was placed at its base – a German Maschinengewehr MG80 captured in the attack on La Motte Farm, south of Beaurevoir, France, by the 24th Battalion, A.I.F., on October 3rd, 1918. It remained there until the night of December 31st, 1934.
It was during the New Year’s Eve celebrations welcoming in the year 1935, that a group of revellers thought it a good idea to remove the heavy machine gun from the cenotaph and move it to another location.
The people of Diamond Creek woke up not only to the start of a New Year but to the site of a machine gun placed in a prominent position over the entrance of the St John’s Church of England Hall. The news of this unusual prank would be covered by many newspapers around the country. The machine gun weighing 65kg remained above the entrance for over a month until it could be agreed as to whose responsibility it was and how it was to be taken down.
The gun was eventually taken down and placed once more at the base of the cenotaph but it wouldn’t stay there as with many other trophies of WW1, it was scrapped during WW2 for the war effort.