A new memorial commemorating the service and sacrifice of local men and women who served in World War I has been unveiled at Jilliby Cemetery by the Federal Member for Dobell, Emma McBride MP.
“The Wyong RSL Sub-Branch was successful in securing funds through the ANZAC Centenary Grants Program,” Emma McBride said.
“I was very pleased to be able to assist the Wyong RSL Sub-Branch with their project to commemorate the servicemen and women from the Wyong region who served in World War I,” she said.
“I’d like to thank the Central Coast Council for also making a contribution to this worthy project.
“This memorial specifically honours the service and sacrifice of local men and women who answered the call to arms with the outbreak of World War One.
“The Jilliby Valley was one of 1701 recruitment centres in NSW and the staging point on the Coast for the men and women embarking on the journey to help defend the British Empire.
“Regional areas such as the Central Coast made a significant contribution to the World War One war effort and, as a consequence, many did not make it home.”
The unveiling was attended by Mrs Joanne Cullen and her father, Mr Bill Dafter. Mr Dafter’s parents are buried in the Jilliby Cemetery and his father, Norman, was a World War I veteran.
“Norman Dafter was one of the fortunate local young men who did return home from the War.”
The 21-year-old was deployed to Egypt and then to France where he was shot and developed trench foot, ending up in a repatriation hospital in England. It was there he met his future wife, Bill’s mother, Margaret from Gloucestershire.
After the war Norman and Margaret settled in Australia, ending up in the Entrance, and had 10 children.
“Norman is one of the many returnees from World War One that this new monument is intended to honour.
“His story demonstrates the importance of this cemetery and of this new memorial,” she said.
Central Coast Council’s Mayor Jane Smith said the monument is significant in recognising and remembering an important part of history.
“This monument signifies an important part of not only our local but Australian history,” Mayor Smith said.
“Central Coast Council is proud to be involved in honouring the service of the many local men and women during WW1.”