Replacements cast for damaged crosses


Damaged crosses under 12 memorial oaks commemorating North Otago’s fallen World War 1 soldiers are being replaced.
Oamaru Rotary Club members who cleaned the crosses last year noticed some had been broken. Rotarian Paul Mortimer said it did not appear to be vandalism, just accidents such as being hit by a lawnmower.
This year, Rotary volunteers identified the crosses that needed to be replaced. They approached Great Southern Oamaru, which owns the moulds for the concrete crosses, to ask for replacements.
“They’ve done it for a super-duper low price, just charging the basic costs,” Mr Mortimer said.
Great Southern Oamaru manager David Walker said the company had made replacement crosses “now and then” as required. This was the largest number for some time.
His staff were proud to be involved with the project, as they understood the significance of the crosses, Mr Walker said.
More than 400 oaks were planted throughout the district in 1919 as a living monument to each local soldier killed in World War 1. They radiate out from an oak at the Junction on the South Hill honouring North Otago’s only Victoria Cross recipient, Donald Forrester Brown. Under each oak is a plain white concrete cross marked with the serviceman’s name and date and place of death.
The trees and crosses are overseen by the Memorial Oaks Committee, led by Rob Douglas. His grandfather, Dr Alex Douglas, founded the project in 1918.
The 12 replacement crosses would be taken to Crombie Monumentalist to have the soldiers’ details etched into the concrete.
They would be installed by Rotary members as soon as possible, although it might not be before Anzac Day, Mr Mortimer said.
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