Moruya Dusk Service and new Memorial Stone

The very first "DUSK SERVICE" at the going down of the sun took place at the World War 2 RAAF Bunkers on the 25th of April 2021. Organisers said of the event "Some of you will be surprised to learn that during the Second World War, three Merchant Sailors (fishermen) were killed by a Japanese submarine, just off Moruya on 3rd August 1942. They now lie buried in Moruya Cemetery. Another Merchant Vessel, the SS Robert J. Walker was sunk on Christmas Eve of 1944 off Wallaga Lake with the loss of two crew members." "The Moruya Remembers Committee felt it was appropriate for an official wreath to be laid in honour of these three men and the U.S. Crewmen of the Robert J. Walker lost on board . "Both sets of crewmen will now be officially remembered during this, the first of future official Dusk Services. " This is a scaled down version of the Honour Stone that is now installed and officially opened today was cut from Moruya granite replicating the Martin Place Memorial in Sydney.

Above: Norm Moore, Mr. Greg Knight from Eurobodalla Shire Council and Gary Traynor at the site of the new WW2 Memorial at the old RAAF air base standing at the 'Cenotaph Stone' which is a scaled down replica of the Cenotaph Stone at Martin Place, Sydney. Norm Moore at left, and Gary Traynor at right - these two worked together to design and 'size' the type of stone needed to compliment the project. Mr Greg Knight, (centre) from Eurobodalla Shire Council - saw to it that the two were given 'free range' to select the best 'grained' segment of granite. (Tonalite)

The original size of stone supplied to Andrew James, Director, K D Stoneworks, Tumut, was 4 - 5 tonnes and finished at 750 kilos. A base section was then added, (won from an offcut) at 3 kilos. The finished weight was approx one eighteenth of the Martin Place Stone (18 tonnes)- which was cut from a 2,000 tonne segment. It was blasted from the quarry face, and finished by hand with primitive equipment relevant to the time.

The ceremony unveiled this scaled down version in place at the relic 'Underground Operations Building' which is now the Thelmore Pistol Club.

Above: the black granite tablet containing the names of seamen and airmen killed near Moruya during WW2.

The tablet was donated by retired Moruya Stonemason, Steve Hazleton, and the inscriptions were the work of Specialist Stonemason, Thomas Law, of Ulladulla.

The special retention block was designed by Norm Moore, and has a special mix of fine concrete supplied by Holcim Concrete of Moruya. It will have a finished surface of Liquid Megatreat, with an embodied content of Sydney White Sandstone. Sandstone is present in the area adjacent to the granite outcrop, and provides an appropriate connection to geology relevant to the area.

Dusk Service at the Bunkers By Hayley Jenson

The ANZAC spirit was felt loud and proud throughout the region this weekend. But at the Inaugural Dusk Service at No. 11 Operational Base Unit and No. 17 Radio Direction Finding Station “the Bunkers” it was an ANZAC Day to be remembered forever.

Following a Welcome to Country by Mr Jonah Slockee Albert the MC, Mr Dales Whyte, led visitors through the official unveiling of the new Cenotaph Stone and Honour Roll Stone. This Cenotaph Stone is an exact replica of the Cenotaph in Martin Place in Sydney and was sculpted from Moruya Granite as that cenotaph was. The Honour Roll was unveiled to reveal the names of 3 Merchant Seaman and 8 RAAF members who lost their lives in the Moruya area.

The Cenotaph Stone was unveiled by Wing Commander Garth Andrews RAAF and Mr Michael Walker of Complete Angler Ulladulla who was a major contributor to this memorial.

The Honour Roll Stone was unveiled by Wing Commander Robyn Murtagh RAAF and Mr Greg Knight on behalf of Mr Norman Moore, Works Foreman on this memorial, and Mr Thomas Law, who were responsible for setting the names on the Honour Roll.

Wing Commander Garth Andrews RAAF then provided visitors with a history of the Bunkers site as well as the incidents which occurred in the area before the 222 Army Cadet Unit Flag Party and Catafalque Party entered for the formal ANZAC Commemorations.

This was the third ANZAC Ceremony of the day for many of the 222 Army Cadet Unit starting with the Tomakin march at 7am. A few of these Cadets started much earlier providing the Catafalque Party for the Dawn Service at Tuross Head.

The work which has been done at the Bunkers by the Moruya Remembers Committee is a credit to them. The support they have received from the community and council to make this memorial come to life is a true sign of the ANZAC spirit being ever present. The attendance of so many at this First Dusk Service shows that they will not be forgotten.

Congratulations to the Moruya Remembers Committee on their ANZAC Ceremony and Memorial and to the 222 Army Cadet Unit on whose shoulders our country rests. There are many others who contributed to this Memorial and collectively Thankyou.

Above: The original Cenotaph Honour Stone in Martin Place, Sydney, cut from the Moruya granite quarry. Image When War Came to Moruya

Above: This is the ONLY photo (AWM 044472) in known existence of any aircraft on Moruya Airstrip during the Second World War. This B-25 Mitchell medium bomber (Serial Number N5-126) operated by the Netherlands East Indies Air Force (No. 18 NEI Squadron was a joint squadron operated by the Netherlands East Indies Air Force and RAAF) suffered an undercarriage collapse when it landed at Moruya on 21 July 1942. Interestingly, this is the same date that the Japanese landed at Girua, Sanananda and Buna to commence the Kokoda campaign .... so the war truly was coming close to Australia! No. 18 Squadron was formed at RAAF Station Canberra on 4 April 1942. Image: When War Came to Moruya