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Yanchep National Park

Memorial Garden Monument

Yanchep/Two Rocks Returned and Services League War Memorial

The Memorial Garden was completed and formally dedicated on Armistice Day 11th November 1979. This site was chosen as it was on the old Geraldton to Perth stock route where many stockmen and drovers watered their cattle and camped overnight on the banks of what is now known as, Loch McNess, many of which no doubt enlisted in the services in both World Wars and paid the supreme sacrifice. Also, during World War II, the Yanchep National Park was taken over by the Royal Australian Air Force. The Yanchep Inn became the base for No. 4 Convalescent Unit, later to be renamed the No. 4 Rehabilitation Unit. The Gloucester Lodge became the headquarters of the RAAF No. 227 Radar Unit. Subsequently the War Graves Commission donated a large bronze memorial plaque depicting all the badges/emblems of the fighting services. This plaque was fixed to the base of the memorial. However, this plaque was forcibly removed and stolen, never to be recovered. Another plaque has been installed.

The memorial garden rockery was built just before WWII from local stones resembling grotesque monsters ornament the corners of each of the four sections with little or no alteration from the condition in which they were found. Some of these stones have are broken but you can still see the remaining grotesque stones on the fountain. [Source: Summer 2016-2017 Newsletter extract from National Park]. Yanchep/Two Rocks RSL members Les Neaves (was the architect of the structure) and Bill (Snow) Daley and Bob Kerr assisted. The memorial was carved out of rough limestone and stands outside The Yanchep Inn. The memorial was for those who gave their lives in the Great War, World War II, Korea, Malaysia, Borneo, and Vietnam. [Source: Hamlet, J, 1998. “The Yanchep Inn 1936-1997”]. The memorial has subsequently been updated with later wars, Gulf War, Afghanistan, East Timor and Iraq. No names can be inscribed on the plaque. Two of our local boys, the Gibb brothers, are already commemorated on the War Memorial in the City of Wanneroo Town Centre.

The Memorial Garden has been looked after by the Yanchep National Park staff, volunteers, and members of the Yanchep/Two Rocks RSL Sub-Branch.  Fencing has been installed around the Memorial Garden including the two rose gardens. This needed to be completed as the Kangaroos in the Park ate all the plants including the flora that was ‘Kangaroo proof’. The Rosemary hedge is safe from Kangaroos eating the vegetation as they don’t like it!

The Memorial Garden is a well-established area watching the fountain flow, and in recent years has blossomed into an area for the public to sit in quiet contemplation enjoying the birds and the general ambience of the National Park and surrounds. This includes being in front of the heritage building, The Yanchep Inn. The flagpole was replaced so that three flags could be flown at the same time and was dedicated in 2019 in memory of Colleen Flynn and Harold Morris for services to the RSL. There are two metal soldier statues that were installed in 2020 and look very effective at night. A Memorial Wall was donated and installed in 2021 by the family of Dominic Mulquiney and dedicated at the ANZAC Day 2021 service. Spirit of ANZAC Grevillea shrubs were planted in keeping the theme in the Memorial Garden of military named plants, for example there are two standard Roses called Courage and there are also two ANZAC Rosemary bushes in the shape of cannon balls at the Memorial Garden entrance.

For Anzac Day services the Memorial Garden is adorned with Rosemary branches. When Rosemary is worn on Anzac Day in Honour of the Fallen in war, the gesture has a sacred and solemn background. The custom was instituted by the Centre of Soldiers Wives and Mothers, which was founded in 1915, a few weeks after the landing at Gallipoli, for the Welfare of Soldiers dependents.

For Remembrance Day services, the Memorial Garden is covered in Poppies. The first poppies were sold in the streets of London on Armistice Day 1921. The poppy is a reminder of the battlefields of Flanders where the small red flower grew.

Compiled by Anne Purdy JP, Memorial Garden Warden, Yanchep and Two Rocks RSL Sub-Branch – 2021