Cenotaph move ready for Anzac Day

The new site of the Yarra Glen cenotaph. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

The Yarra Glen cenotaph has been moved to a new location just in time for this year’s Anzac Day commemorations.

The cenotaph had been wedged between the Yarra Glen Memorial Hall and the Melba Highway and has now been moved to Anzac Avenue facing Mackenzie Reserve to better accommodate larger crowds during Anzac Day and Remembrance Day services.

Yarra Ranges Council said consultation had taken place with Yarra Glen RSL and that the new location would strengthen the connection to the name of the street and be closer to the Avenue of Honour.

Yarra Glen RSL president Stephen Shortis said ceremonies in previous years would “spill” out onto the highway.

“We’ve been really fortunate to get good support on Remembrance Day and Anzac Day,” he said. “The community turns out in force and of course, that’s been the problem, when it happens we haven’t been able to accommodate them.”

Mr Shortis said the new location is wheelchair friendly and allows for greater participation in Yarra Glen’s Anzac Day services.

“Our marches are all inclusive, we have the pony club and all the girls on their horses can now stay on their horses to be a part of the ceremony. When they were down the other end, they had no chance.

“The new location is going to be much better. We’ll have an acre and a half of lawn placing it into the reserve. It’ll be terrific.”

The cenotaph was first erected and unveiled almost 100 years ago in October 1921. It’s not the first time a relocation for the cenotaph has been on the cards as Mr Shortis said it was originally erected near the roundabout and old railway line at the other end of town before being moved out the front of the Memorial Hall in 1998.

“Because they changed the road alignment, it was down the end of town where the railway is and where the roundabout is now. They couldn’t leave it where it was so it moved from there.”

Yarra Glen’s Anzac Day service will take place at 10.30am with limited numbers. While the RSL’s traditional march will not take place in line with Covid-19 restrictions.