Sentinel Soldiers sculpture

 Sentinel Soldiers sculpture, Amanda Feher, Jezzine Barracks

Public Art : Sentinel Soldiers sculpture

Sculptor: © Amanda Feher

Sculptor's Website: www.amandafeher.com.au

Description: The Sentinel Soldiers sculpture is in honour of four nominated servicemen from the 31st & 2/31st Battalions; Major Hugh Quinn (1888 – 1915), Lt. Colonel Frederick William Toll (1872 – 1955), Private James Hannah Gordon (1907 – 1986) and Private Patrick Joseph Bugden (1897-1917) . The Sentinel Soldiers sculpture features 4 pillars in a circular formation, representing the four honoured servicemen and also depicts the barrels of the guns that protected this coastline. The base is in the shape of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO)  which is a military medal of the British Empire awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime. Lt Colonel Toll was a recipient of this military honour. The central feature of the sculpture are the Crossed Boomerangs, a key feature of the 31st battalion badge.

Date Unveiled: 2014

Funded By: The Sentinel Soldiers sculpture was funded by the Jezzine Barracks Community Trust as part of the Jezzine Barracks Redevelopment Project.

Location: The Sentinel Soldiers sculpture is located at the Mitchell Street entrance of the Jezzine Barracks, Townsville, Queensland, Australia.

Inscriptions:

Major Hugh Quinn (1888 – 1915):

Major Hugh Quinn was a talented light-heavyweight boxer from Charters Towers who’s name became synonymous with one of the most dangerous and famous locations in Gallipoli. Quinn’s Post was at the centre of the ANZAC line, in some places less than 5m from the enemy. This location was highly exposed to enemy fire with the fighting being intense and continuous. Major Quinn was one of the first to command this position, and did so for over a month before he “fell with his face to the foe across the very trenches that bear his name, with the men of the 15th behind him”.

Lt. Colonel Frederick William Toll DSO and Bar, MBE, VD (1872 – 1955):

Raised in Charters Towers, Lt Colonel Toll served in South Africa during the Boer War, was highly decorated and later commanded the 31st Battalion during WWI, between 1915 and 1918. Toll was a skilled athlete and a crack shot, described as “a splendid officer, never loses his head…the men would do anything for him.” Awarded the DSO twice in 1916, he was wounded three times and eventually gas injuries forced his evacuation from the Great War. After returning to Queensland he was a foundation member of the Returned Soldiers League and was active in many public and private community service organisations throughout the rest of his life.

Private James Hannah (Heather) Gordon, VC (1907 – 1986):

Private Jim Gordon was awarded his VC for conspicuous gallantry whilst saving his unit by capturing a Pill Box near Jezzine, Northern Syria. Typically modest, Gordon is quoted as saying, “Thousands of others should have won the VC.” “Everyman was as good as the next, I was just one of the mob, a bit luckier than the average. I happened to be in the right spot at the right minute and most of the other chaps would have done the same as I did.” He was offered a second VC for his actions on the Kokoda Track, but turned it down unless the rest of his section were also similarly recognized.

Private Patrick Joseph Bugden, VC (1897-1917):

This former NSW hotelier enlisted in May 1916 and joined the 31st Battalion in March 1917. A gallant soldier, he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for numerous acts of valour at Polygon Wood during the 3rd Battle of Ypres. The 31st advanced across No-Man’s Land through dust so thick they had to navigate by compass. Bugden was responsible for rescuing 5 injured soldiers under intense machine gun and artillery fire; for attacking and capturing “at the point of a bayonet”, a German machine gun post and garrison; and single handedly rescuing a captured fellow Digger from behind enemy lines.

Jezzine Barracks Redevelopment Project :

The Jezzine Barracks / Kissing Point / Garabarra precinct is a former military site and home of Traditional Owners, the Wulgurukaba people and the Bindal people.

In July 2009 the Commonwealth Government handed over the 15 hectares of the former Jezzine Barracks to the Townsville City Council to ensure that the historic site would not be sold to commercial interests, but would be preserved and appropriately developed in the public interest. 

The Jezzine Barracks Redevelopment Project commemorates both the military and Aboriginal heritage of the Jezzine Barracks, Kissing Point and Garabarra. One of the highlights of the project is the 33 specially commissioned public artworks at the Kissing Point headland. The public artworks were created by 13 Aboriginal and 11 non-Aboriginal artists from Townsville, North Queensland and Queensland, all inspired by either Aboriginal stories or military history .

Twenty of the installations are inspired by traditional Aboriginal elders stories. The stories were originally depicted in drawings produced by the Aboriginal artists, then in collaboration with installation artists were developed into public sculptures.

Eight of the works are inspired by the the military history of the site and the Kennedy Regiment.

Acknowledgements: Thank you to Amanda Feher for so kindly providing the images of your inspiring and touching work.

LEST WE FORGET

 

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