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Bethania Residents Construct own Community Anzac Memorial

Residents of Ingenia Lifestyle Bethania have always placed Anzac Day at the top of their yearly calendar, with gathering for Dawn Service at local RSL subbranches being important to so many of them.   However, circumstances over the past few years due to COVID restrictions saw residents adapt with Driveway Services held in the community.  In 2021, the residents held their own ANZAC Dawn Service at the Verandahs Clubhouse, roadside, followed by a ” Gun Fire Breakfast”.  With 150 in attendance, it was a resounding success.

From these successful ANZAC Day Services, the idea grew from amongst the many ex-service residents to construct their own ANZAC Memorial within the Community.  In May 2021, in collaboration with Ingenia, the process to build the Memorial commenced. An ANZAC Memorial Committee was formed by the residents, and this committee took on this project with enthusiasm, navigating the challenges of seeking funding, finding a suitable location, site design and layout and of course, the support of the residents.

From within the Community, residents supported the project via a Neil Diamond tribute concert, a super raffle, mystery coach tour, other fundraising events and donations. From outside the Community, local businesses and politicians supported the residents with cut price goods, services and donations. Ingenia also made a substantial contribution towards this project. The committee also successfully applied for a Federal Grant.

Importantly, we were able to draw on the many diverse talents of residents and the build process started in early 2022. The ANZAC Memorial Site was to be a fitting and substantial Memorial to all of those who served Australia, New Zealand and other countries in times of conflict. It is a permanent site to serve future generations.  To this end, the statues honour all branches of the armed services and “Rusty” the dog stands for all the animals who served with them. These figures were laser cut from special 12mm metal plate and take on a rusted appearance. The memorial stone is Helidon sandstone. Separately, a steel bench seat overlooks the Memorial Site and is laser cut with the words “ALL GAVE SOME…SOME GAVE ALL”.

The 2022 ANZAC Day Service was held at the almost completed Memorial site and again great attendance. The Memorial is now complete and on Monday, 15th August they had an Official Opening and Dedication of the Memorial. The ANZAC Memorial President, Len Gray presided over proceedings and the Site was dedicated by ex-Army Padre, Jim Cosgrove. Major General Jason Blain spoke of the significance of recognizing all those who served and then declared the ANZAC Memorial Site officially open. Major General Blain is an Infantry Officer who recently commanded the 7th Combat Brigade in Brisbane.

Following on from this event, a slide show depicting the site build progress was presented during the afternoon tea served to those in attendance. Over 150 residents, suppliers, Ingenia personnel and politicians attended. The date of this event is significant as it commemorates VP Day (Victory in the Pacific). This day in 1945 saw the end of World War 2 in the Pacific Theatre.