The historic war memorial in Dorrigo has been destroyed after a car smashed into the iconic monument on Thursday night.
The historic war memorial in Dorrigo has been destroyed after a car smashed into the iconic monument on Thursday night. Frank Redward

Plans to raise the fallen Digger monument for its Centenary

UPDATE: THE ANZAC way they say is when a soldier is knocked down he dusts himself off and gets back to his feet or is given a helping hand up.

That's exactly the stance of the Dorrigo RSL Sub-Branch as it comes to grips with the destruction of the town's 98-year-old war memorial.

Many of the hardworking former veterans and servicemen and women have had time today to accept the damage that was done to the sacred Cenotaph by an out-of-control car on Thursday night around 7pm.  

After the iconic lone soldier statue came to rest on the roof of a Ford Focus the decision was made to take the car to a nearby works depot and delicately remove the monument to prevent any further damage. 

For some of the town's war veterans the sight of the Cenotaph's stone pillar base, featuring the names of World War I and World War II veterans in pieces on the roadway was too much too bear.

"I'm devastated and a couple of the other sub-branch members have been down and had a look at it and they have left in disgust," Dorrigo RSL Sub-Branch President Jim Macleod told The Advocate.

But as dismayed as he was he was resolute on righting the situation: "We will rebuild it."

"This is a 98-year-old monument to the veterans who returned from World War I and it also includes the names of those who were sacrificed in World War II," Jim said. 

"We were planning a Centenary in two year's time, but it looks like we will have to rebuild the monument and have (the Digger) back up there in place for that event."

The 24-year-old male driver believed to have been travelling from Armidale is facing charges with the police investigation continuing.

Police on Friday said the driver underwent mandatory testing at Dorrigo Hospital on Thursday night.

"Officers from Coffs/Clarence Police District attended and have commenced inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the crash," police said.

"No charges have been laid at this stage."

Ironically, the Hickory St roundabout on which the Cenotaph stood is earmarked for upcoming RMS improvements.

The NSW Government recently called for applications to its Community War Memorial Fund, which may help the
Sub Branch with a grant to rebuild the ANZAC monument. 

FRIDAY: AN HISTORIC war memorial has been destroyed in northern NSW after a car ploughed into the sacred monument of an ANZAC Digger in the centre of Dorrigo.

The iconic lone soldier made of white stone standing above the Cenotaph came to rest on the roof of the Ford Focus after the crash.

A male driver reportedly escaped the accident in shock with minor injuries.

Police said the vehicle was travelling eastbound on Thursday night just after 7pm when the crash occurred.

The airbags deployed inside the vehicle as the base of the soldier statue smashed the front windscreen.

The brown stone pillar base of the Cenotaph featuring the names of the district's World War I veterans carved into its side was broken into pieces by the force of the impact.

Jim Macleod President of the Dorrigo RSL Sub-Branch spoke of the emotion in the town on Thursday night as locals saw their pillar of commemoration toppled and lying in pieces on the roadway.

He said the RSL had been planning a Centenary for the monument and it's hoped the lone soldier can now be repaired and remounted for a re-dedication service in two year's time.

"I'm devastated and a couple of the other sub-branch members have been down tonight and had a look at it and they have left in disgust," Mr Macleod.

The monument located in the centre of a roundabout in the town's main street Hickory St, directly outside the Dorrigo Heritage Hotel, was first erected in 1921.

Wreaths have been laid in the ANZAC's honour at the Cenotaph for 98-years. 

The honour roll plaques with the names of the district's World War II veterans were later added in the 1940s. 

The iconic war memorial in Dorrigo. Photo: Cathi Duck
The iconic war memorial in Dorrigo. Photo: Cathi Duck

THURSDAY 8.30PM: Police were called to the scene and dealt with the driver, who was taken away for mandatory drug and alcohol testing.  

The damaged statue of the soldier is being taken to the town's works depot tonight in the hope it can be repaired and remounted on a new memorial. 

The historic pillar base with the names of fallen veterans has been badly chipped outraging Dorrigo residents. 

Many locals have tonight inspected the scene devastated by the sight of the damage to the age-old monument.

The war memorial has for generations faced east in memory of the ANZACs as the focal point of Dorrigo - the hometown of Victoria Cross recipient Corporal Mark Donaldson VC, who regularly has laid wreaths at the memorial during Anzac Day services. 

The Dorrigo War Memorial pictured during an Anzac Day parade.
The Dorrigo War Memorial pictured during an Anzac Day parade.

 

As it stood for almost 100 years prior to tonight. Photo: Cathi Duck
As it stood for almost 100 years prior to tonight. Photo: Cathi Duck


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