Desert Mounted Corps Memorial

Desrt Mounted Corps Memorial, Albany, Western Australia

Public Art : Desert Mounted Corps Memorial

Sculptor : © Sir Bertram Mackennal and Webb Gilbert.

Description: The Desert Mounted Corps Memorial is a 9-metre (30ft) bronze statue depicting an Australian mounted trooper assisting a New Zealand soldier whose horse has been wounded. Inter War Stripped Classical style.

Date Unveiled: The Desert Mounted Corps Memorial was originally unveiled in Port Said on the 23rd November, 1932, before being shipped to Albany, Western Australia in 1960 after it was damaged. A copy was made and it was erected in 11th October, 1964.

Funded By : The memorial was funded by the Australian Government, the New Zealand Government and surviving mounted soldiers.  The Australian Government contributed  £10,000, the New Zealand Government £2,000 and the troops £5,400.                              

Location : The Desert Mounted Corps Memorial stands proudly on top of Mt Clarence, Albany, Western Australia. Believe it or not the  memorial was originally erected at Port Said, Egypt, in 1932 but after it was badly damamged during the Suez Crisis it was returned to Western Australia

Background : On the 4th of August, 1916, Brigadier General Royston suggested a memorial be erected at Port Said in memory of the Australian and New Zealand Mounted Troops who were killed in Syria during World War I. It wasn't long before a fund was set up. In 1923 a design competiton was held and the winner was Mr P.H. Meldrum and C.Webb Gilbert. Unforunately Webb Gilbert died in 1925 and the sculpture was completed by Sir Bertram Mackennal.
In 1927 preparations began for the memorial at Port Said and by 1932 it was completed. On the 23rd of November the memorial was officially unveiled by the former Australian Prime Minister William Hughes.
Unfortunately the memorial was badly damaged in December 1956, during the anti-British riots (Suez Canal Crisis) which followed Egypt's announcement they wanted to nationalize the Suez Canal. In 1959 the United Arab Republic agreed to send the badly battered memorial back to Australia and it arrived in Albany in 1960. Local stonemason Howard Hartman was contracted to re-create the granite base while Melbourne sculptor Raymond Ewers was commissioned to recast the figures. The plaster cast was then shipped to Genoa, Italy in 1962 and cast in bronze by the Battaglia Bros in Milan.
Finally in July 1964 the new statue arrived at Fremantle harbour before being transported to Albany. Then on the 11th of October 1964 the then Prime Minister of Australia, Sir Robert Menzies, officially unveiled the Desert Mounted Corps Memorial on Mt Clarence.

Trivia :

In June, 1985, the bayonets were stolen by vandals but after a desperate appeal by the then mayor Mrs June Hodgson they were returned.

Desert Mounted Corps, Albany, Western Australia, public art

Desert Mounted Corps, Albany, Western Australia, public art

Desert Mounted Corps, Albany, Western Australia, public art

Desert Mounted Corps, Albany, Western Australia, public art

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