Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Last Post

TTWC 2007.95 on concrete seat ends

My Dad is from a tiny district near a small town in the Western District of Victoria. The dairy farm he grew up on was a post-WWI Soldier Settlement block with some land holdings added to it. Part of the block was the intersection of the two main roads in the district, that is - the road to the school and the road to the railway siding.
My Grandfather was a sporting man. He played football and cricket and trained race horses. My father played football and cricket (very well as it happens) and his sisters played tennis. So for the reasons of geography, personal inclination, district pride and to keep his children close to home, the local football and cricket pitch was in a paddock on the family property nearest the school, and my grandfather gave a portion of the land on the intersection of the roads to the Shire Council for a tennis court. The Council built a tennis court on the land nearest the intersection and my grandfather built another court next to it. The tournaments held there were legendary and summer and winter the little dairy farm was one of the hubs of the community social life.

Two young men from the district lost their lives in World War II. The community erected a memorial to them by putting up a seat at the tennis court. My grandfather had a matching seat constructed for the family court. The seats were wooden slats attached to shaped concrete end posts.

Some years ago Dad was at the farm doing some work and negotiating to purchase the old and now disused tennis court land back from the Shire Council when he came across 4 concrete ends and remembered their significance. No one he mentioned them to expressed any interest in them, so he brought the concrete ends home to Canberra where he erected one seat in his backyard and put a plaque on it in continued remembrance of the war dead. I advised him at the time that the local historical society should be told of the memorial and that he probably shouldn't have moved them. His argument was that it was his land, that there had never been markings on the seats in the first place and that at least he was prepared to honour those men's supreme sacrifice.

The other two concrete seat posts are in my garden waiting for Dad to decide where to construct it yet. The beanie didn't seem to mind.


Jejune said...

Lovely story Taph, and great photo - I'm glad that you have two of the seat posts. Luckily you're the sort of person who will ensure the history of these seats is recorded and remembered, even if they were moved :)

TinkingBell said...

What a lovely story - and considering that amount of knitting that went on for 'the boys' in both world wars, it's probably quite a fitting place for the hat!

Donna Lee said...

What a lovely and thought-ful gesture. And a perfect place to display a hat.

amanda j said...

Cool story! Thanks so much for sharing!