Restored Snake Valley war memorial ready for Anzac Day

AN Anzac Day service will be held at the Snake Valley war memorial for the first time in about 30 years. 

Members of the community have dedicated more than 3000 hours over the past seven years to restoring the memorial from its dilapidated state, establishing the group Friends of the RSL for Carngham and Snake Valley. 

Work on the Avenue of Honour site included tidying up trees and clearing fallen branches. 

Group president Pat Yeoman said the memorial centrepiece was already there, but it had been chipped and the fence surrounding it was in pieces. 

It has now been fully restored. 

“We’ve had the sign updated and a new flagpole put in,” she said. 

The group also had four pillars added around the centrepiece, which remembers soldiers from World War II. 

Gravel has been put down, seats put in, and posts now surround the memorial.

“You couldn’t walk through the Avenue of Honour because of the fallen tree branches,” Ms Yeoman said. 

“It took a lot of time and a lot of people to come and clean that up.”

The group successfully applied for numerous small grants that helped fund the project, including a grant to expand the World War I memorial to become a memorial for World War II and later conflicts. 

Group treasurer Les Finch, who lives nearby, said he often saw people stopping to have a look at the memorial.

“I’ve even see one family stop and have picnic beneath the trees,” he said. 

A longtime Snake Valley resident, Ms Yeoman said she could vaguely remember a service being held about 30 years ago, but for some reason they had stopped.

Services resumed about seven years ago, first being held at the historical society rooms before moving to the community hall due to growing numbers. 

This is the first year the service will be held at the restored war memorial. 

A traditional dawn service will be held at the memorial, with a guest speaker, before morning tea at the Uniting Church hall across the road. 

Everyone agreed it will be an emotional day.

“It’ll mean a hell of a lot for us and the whole community,” Mr Finch said.

Group secretary Joseph Sensi said: “It’s something that was falling apart and for it to be used again will be of great benefit to the community.”