By Tyler Wright
The Montrose & District Men’s Shed is preparing to turn an unused area in the town’s town centre into a memorial garden commemorating nurses who have served – and died – in conflict.
With support from Yarra Ranges Council and the Mount Evelyn RSL sub-branch, a garden next to the Montrose cenotaph will undergo landscaping and garden planting, with the provision of a seat with accessibility and the inclusion of a memorial plaque dedicated to nurses that served in not only World War One and World War Two, but all wars and peacekeeping operations.
Montrose Men’s Shed life member Max Lamb said he thought of the idea of a memorial for nurses three years ago on Anzac Day.
“I looked around [and thought] ‘wouldn’t it be nice to have a memorial to nurse…we’ve got memorials to the soldiers that served, but where are the memorials to the nurses that served?'” Mr Lamb said.
“Nurses were killed during the war…they were taken as prisoners of war, so this is a worthy tribute to them.”
Mount Evelyn RSL sub-branch president Matthew Crymble said while there are monuments for soldiers and airmen, nurses have missed out on recognition.
“It’s in a great spot by the Cenotaph, so when Max conducts these services, Anzac Day and Remembrance Day, the community can see something significant in the park honouring and acknowledging what nurses have done through all wars,” Mr Crymble said.
Streeton Ward Councillor Andrew Fullagar said he memorial garden is going to be a “fantastic destination” for people to reflect.
“It’s a great project…to recognise women in war in this way, and in particular nurses, what better way?” Cr Fullagar said.
“This town centre really has been the centre of life in Montrose since it was originally built back in the 1980s, and to have it here seems to be the most logical place to put it,” Walling Ward Councillor Len Cox added.
“I’m sure it’ll be appreciated over many years.”
Mr Lamb said he hopes the project will be completed by Remembrance Day on 11 November, and is looking to find information on local nurses who have served in conflicts and war to share their stories on the plaque at the new memorial.
“It’s going to be a nice, worthwhile project for people to come and sit and reflect and perhaps forget about their own problems while they sit and think about what the nurses went through,” he said.
If you have any further information on nurses that served, or have a story to tell, you can contact Mr Lamb on 0427358000.