Citywide, with the City of Melbourne and the Shrine Trustees recently relocated the Ex-Servicewomen’s Memorial Cairn. This monument was established in the memory of over 70,000 Australian Ex-Servicewomen who proudly represented our country from the Boer War through to 1985.
This historically significant memorial was originally the brain-child of Sybil Irving who in 1948 sought to create a tranquil and memorable place where Melbournians could pay homage to Australia’s many ex-servicewomen.
Lamenting in a forgotten part of King’s Domain, this important memorial has suffered with age and neglect. Upon hearing of its plight, Citywide’s Managing Director Kerry Osborne got behind this worthwhile cause and volunteered both physical and financial resources on behalf of Citywide. A loyal and committed member of the Shrine Trustees, his vision was to bring the Memorial Garden and Cairn back from the brink of ruin, and pay it the respect he felt it deserved.
As Citywide is currently contracted to maintain The Shrine’s outdoor spaces, becoming involved in the Memorial Garden’s rehabilitation was a natural extension to our commitment to the venue. Kerry Osborne, Citywide Managing Director, said, “Our people are very proud to have helped deliver this beautiful, tribute to our ex-service women. I am confident the Memorial Garden will soon enjoy the iconic status of Melbourne’s other parkland features.”
Working in collaboration with the Council of Ex-Servicewomen’s Associations (Vic), The Shrine Trustees, and the City of Melbourne, Citywide developed a ‘garden of flowers’ concept design in order to appropriately integrate the Cairn Memorial into the Reserve Park.
Inspired by the women’s forgotten flower of remembrance – the violet, Landscape Architect Katherine Rekaris along with Citywide’s landscape gardener Sam Davis have augmented the Cairn with a garden of concrete memorial ‘violets’(Viola hederacea), Dianella (Dianella ‘Cassa Blue’) and Ipheion (Ipheion uniflorum). The garden now resides in a newly planted grove of Jacarandas and incorporates an Australian native hardwood bench which has been donated by the Council of Ex-Servicewomen’s Associations (Vic).
Aside from the financial contribution, Citywide also undertook all construction work from the relocation of the memorial to the installation of soils, planting of garden beds, plant stock, installation of turf and mulching.
“Women have played a vital role in Australia’s war efforts. In more recent years, have been accepted to positions once held only by men. Australian servicewomen have demonstrated fortitude and courage, and it is appropriate that the Ex-Servicewomen’s Memorial Cairn be relocated to the Shrine Reserve,” said Shrine acting Chairman John Wertheimer.