April 18th, 2019
Have you ever thought about the fact that towns in your area might not have a war memorial to host their own ANZAC day services?

Kanmantoo was one such town until a small committee decided to lead a project to construct a war memorial in time for this year's commemoration.

Chairperson of the committee Marilyn Deutrom said they thought it was important to recognise those from the town who had served in a more permanent way than the honour board in the community hall.

“I think it's really important to show respect to the members of our community who served,” Marilyn said.

“Hopefully over the years the memorial will develop more, people will visit it and it will become a feature of the town.”

The planning process for the memorial has taken many hours since its 2016 inception because the honour board was only a start for local names.

Elaine McInnes from Kanmantoo Bacon spent time with others from the region, such as the president of the Macclesfield RSL and a Mid Murray historian, to collate a substantial list of names for the memorial.

“We have 63 service men and women who were born in Kanmantoo or registered in Kanmantoo - one from the Boer War and the rest from World War I and II,” Elaine said.

“We have an honour board in the hall but it only has 20 or so names on it so we looked into it and with a lot of work and help found the other names.”

The appearance of the memorial was a far easier planning process according to Elaine.

“The committee knew what we wanted the memorial to look like,” she said.

“Kanmantoo Bluestone donated the stone which is the same as what was used for the hall and the flood wall.”

The Mount Barker Council supported the committee with where to get the plaques made, paid for the flagpoles and contributed a grant of $2,500.

The remainder of the project was funded through the work of the committee.

“We’re lucky in that we had the money to do it,” Elaine said.

“There was a history book made of Kanmantoo in the 1990s and we had it reprinted which raised most of the funds.”

The very first ANZAC day service for the town, to be held in two weeks, will include a gunfire breakfast and although Marilyn said the committee is unsure how many residents will attend she added that they are hopeful the community will come together around the memorial.

“Most people usually go to Mount Barker, Littlehampton or Nairne,” Marilyn said.

“I hope people support it in Kanmantoo this year and in speaking to people there is a lot of interest.

“We've catered for up to 100 although we really don't know how many people will be there – fortunately we have a good supplier of bacon.”

The dawn service will begin at 6.15am on April 25.

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