Honour boards and plaques commemorating Bega Valley’s service men and women will be reinstated in the Bega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre thanks to a grant from the NSW Government.
On September 16, Minister for Veterans Affairs David Elliott visited Bega to announce $5000 for the repair, cleaning and installation of the memorial honour boards and plaques retained from the old Bega Memorial Town Hall.
The Australian Defence Force’s Tri-Service Flag will also be integrated into the design of the Commemorative Centre.
“These are grants offered right across the state, but Bega does have a wonderful Anzac tradition,” Mr Elliott said.
“I can’t think of a more deserving community.”
While Bega RSL sub-branch president Tom Blake welcomed the grant, he said it was replacing things the club had lost.
I can’t think of a more deserving community.
He said there used to be plaques featuring the names of World War 2 veterans on trees in Bega’s Littleton Gardens, but about six years ago the club was asked to remove these plaques due to the gardens’ redevelopment.
Mr Blake said the club used the plaques to make a memorial garden outside the Bega Valley Shire Council chambers, but council later removed them and the club had to redistribute them to the nearest of kin.
“We’re using the grant to get back the things we lost,” he said.
Mr Blake said the grant would go towards a honour board for WW2 service people from Bega, a plaque for WW1 veterans and two tri-stars.
He hoped the money would cover the list of items as the club had originally applied for a larger grant, but he said it was still “a big help” towards their goal.
On his visit to Bega, Mr Elliott talked about the important role RSL clubs play in regional communities.
“[Serving in the armed forces is] not a normal job, and what they go through is not something the rest of the community can understand,” he said.
He said these days it was hard to encourage returning service people to join the RSL, but veterans in the clubs provided support, could pick up signs of post-traumatic stress disorder and would understand what younger soldiers had been though.
Council plans to install the honour boars and plaques by Remembrance Day this year.