Port's war memorial to move due to traffic rule in 1963 - only to move back in 55 years

Memorial in Way

Sad news: Members of the Port Macquarie Surf Club, 1963. Tragically, not all of them made it home safely from the Australian Surf Championships that year.

Sad news: Members of the Port Macquarie Surf Club, 1963. Tragically, not all of them made it home safely from the Australian Surf Championships that year.

Although it has stood proudly for the past forty years to the memory of those who served in the 1914-18 War, the Soldiers' Memorial on Horton Street, at the intersection of Clarence Street, is now in the road of a new motor traffic regulation and there is every likelihood it will eventually have to be removed to another site.

The new regulation, the "diamond turn" will come into force on April 1, to bring about uniformity in turning at intersections in all Australian States. New South Wales has been "pushed" into the new regulation because Queensland, South Australia, and Victoria have already adopted it.

It means after April 1, motorists, instead of going around the traffic dome in the centre of an intersection, will cut inside it and "dart" in a direct line to the centre side of the road they are approaching.

Traffic could be corning into the same street on their left kerbside at the same time as the driver crossing the intersection. Constable Bill Bennett, Road Safety Branch, police officer dropped the bombshell in regard to the probability of moving the Soldiers’ Memorial when addressing members of the Rotary Club.

Constable Bennett had been in town a few days watching the traffic on Horton Street before making his statement. He made it clear it wasn't his idea that the Soldiers' Memorial should be moved; he feared civic authorities might be stuck with the problem of removing it to another site.

Wauchope Show success

A big crowd turned out for the first day and unofficial reports were that it was a record day. The first day in the past has been mostly judging but gradually it is becoming more like the second day with a lot of people going along to see other than judging.

Entries were records in most sections. The dairy and beef cattle were of particularly good quality. Radford Gamack, on the public address, helped to keep the ring events moving, although a good deal of cooperation between judges, starters, etc. was required.

The show was remarkably free from accidents. One bullock rider was horned during an event and several people including two ladies on the track were nearly run down by escaping steers.

Tragic death

Nineteen-year-old Pat Hetherington, former vice captain and social secretary, and one of the most popular members of Port Macquarie's Surf Club, was killed instantly in a tragic motor accident early on Saturday morning.

The utility Pat was driving about 5.45am, was within 30 miles of home after a trip back from Warrnambool in Victoria, where the Australian Surf Championship had been held.

There were three vehicles involved in the home-coming and, as news of the accident spread, there was a great deal of sorrow and confusion throughout the community, and naturally guesswork as to whom had been involved.

New rule: A vehicle makes a diamond turn from Clarence Street west of the Soldiers' Memorial onto Horton Street, 1963. Photos supplied by Port Macquarie Museum.

New rule: A vehicle makes a diamond turn from Clarence Street west of the Soldiers' Memorial onto Horton Street, 1963. Photos supplied by Port Macquarie Museum.

Some of the lads had changed vehicles and those travelling in Larry Pullen's new utility when the accident occurred were the deceased, Pat Hetherington, the seriously injured Geoff McClelland, Larry Pullen, and the two Barnett brothers, Richard and Ronald.

Slick: “Singhi” Graham takes Wanda Lawn to a narrow victory in the four-lap Businessmen’s Handicap at the Wauchope Show, 1963.

Slick: “Singhi” Graham takes Wanda Lawn to a narrow victory in the four-lap Businessmen’s Handicap at the Wauchope Show, 1963.

Points deducted: Johnny Fay of Landsdowne riding Comrade in the show jumping event at the Wauchope Show, 1963.

Points deducted: Johnny Fay of Landsdowne riding Comrade in the show jumping event at the Wauchope Show, 1963.

This story War memorial move '63 - history repeats first appeared on Port Macquarie News.

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