A Captured German Gun for Port!

An interesting aside has come from a meeting at Port Melbourne’s Temperance Hall on Thursday evening, 20 March 1919.

Representatives of fourteen local patriotic bodies were meeting to form a committee make arrangements for a Pleasant Sunday Afternoon to raise money to aid the formation of a local branch of the Returned Sailors’ and Soldiers’ Imperial League of Australia (RSSILA), more simply known today as the Returned Soldiers’ League (RSL), and to help fund the building of a Memorial Hall.

During the meeting Mr Smith, a returned soldier said

The number of men returned to Port Melbourne with decorations entitled to town to claim a captured German field gun as a military trophy. He suggested the Crichton Jubliee Park as a sight for the trophy and the Memorial Hall.

We know that neither happened. The local branch of the RSSILA was formed not long after the meeting and soon moved into the Excelsior Hall (built 1886) at the corner of Princes and Bridge Streets. Crichton Reserve as it is called today, occupied the wedge of land between Stokes and Princes Streets above Liardet Street. It has a children’s playground but no captured German gun.

Cr James Peter Crichton attended the meeting and did speak about the make-up of the committee but it is not reported if he expressed a view as to whether a captured gun or the Memorial Hall were suitable additions to his park or not.

Mrs E A Collins was elected secretary of the committee.

References:

1919 ‘RETURNED SOLDIERS’ LEAGUE.’, Port Melbourne Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1920), 22 March, p. 3. , viewed 25 Jan 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article165260556

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