Desert Mounted Corps Memorial
Public Art : Desert Mounted Corps Memorial
Sculptor : © Sir Bertram Mackennal and Webb
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,
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
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
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.
In June, 1985, the bayonets were stolen by vandals but after a desperate appeal by the then mayor
Mrs June Hodgson they were returned.
LEST WE FORGET