1946: The Empire Bay Honour Roll Committee (Secretary Mrs M.R. Settree) asked the Erina Shire Council to accept their proposal to erect a Memorial and Honour Roll on the reserve near the wharf. Council gave approval for the current location and agreed to kerb and gutter. The cost was twenty pounds and the committee paid half.
1947: Gosford Council approved the erection of posts and chains because of “straying stock”, and the plan to plant lawn. Total cost to the Council was fourteen pounds. Council donated the cost of concreting from the base of the Honour Roll to the kerb, with work undertaken by Council employees. On Saturday, 15th December the Memorial was unveiled by Esther Davis, with dedication by the Reverend Cyril Francis from Christ Church, Gosford in front of dignitaries and the community.
This is how the dedication of our Cenotaph was reported in a Gosford paper on Tuesday, November 18, 1947;
“At 3pm one Saturday afternoon in November 1947, a large group of local people gathered beside a new stone honour roll, a “Lest We Forget” plaque and a memorial flagstaff at Empire Bay. As a bugler sounded the Last Post and Reveille, Gosford Sub-branch President G.H.Dixon raised and broke out a brand spanking new flag. The Empire Bay memorial has been acquired by painstaking effort on the part of the tiny Empire Bay Honour Roll Committee. On the southern side of the columns are the names of the seven (sic) World War I veterans. On the northern side are the names of 17 World War II ex-servicemen and one ex-service woman.” (NB There are twelve WW1 names recorded.)
2003: The Progress Association established a Memorial Restoration Committee because of concerns about the condition of the Memorial. The community was surveyed for ideas and design plans drawn up.
2003-2004: A $4,000 grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs was approved.
2004: By Anzac Day 2004, the new engraved plinth (top section of the Honour Roll) was in place thanks to the work of James Cook, a local stonemason. The base was reinforced and the lettering at the base of the Honour Roll re-painted. Two sandstone blocks were placed at each side with plaques commemorating the fallen from the two World Wars, the Korean, Malaysian, and Vietnam conflicts and soldiers acting as peacekeepers in many parts of the world. The lawn was removed and a garden planted with rosemary, westringia and iceberg roses. The area was paved and brick edgings placed around both sides of the garden.
2005: Plaques were placed honouring Gosford City Council for their assistance and Empire Bay Public School for rosemary plantings. On Anzac Day rosemary sprigs were picked from the garden.
2010: Ettalong sub-branch of the RSL facilitated the purchase and installation of a metal flagpole from the Department of Veterans Affairs program. A commemoration box was also installed at the base of the flagpole to display the names of deceased persons, and the flag lowered to half-mast.
2015: Rosemary plants were replaced, garden soil rejuvenated and stonework restored.
2016: Thanks to the Woy Woy – Ettalong RSL, Hardy’s Bay RSL and local stonemason, Jon Bye, a sandstone block was placed on the western side with a plaque to honour the fallen in the Iraq, Timor and Afghanistan conflicts.
We must also mention the volunteers who planted and maintain the garden. The Empire Bay community feels very proud of its Memorial which is the centre point of the village and its Anzac Day services.
by Robert Thompson