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The sculpture memorializes the soldiers who died in service during the First World War. The Winged Victory (a winged angel with a sword and a laurel leaf held high) on top of the monument is a sculpture of Nike (the goddess of Victory) sculpted by Gilbert Doble. The names of the veterans were engraved on the west, north, and south faces of the base of the memorial. The entire monument is set on 3 granite steps and is surrounded by a garden planted with Cyprus trees.
Brief History of The Marrickville War Memorial
The Marrickville War Memorial was unveiled on May 24th, 1919, in honor of the 458 local soldiers who died during the First World War. The Winged Victory is the biggest known bronze casting on any memorial in the country. The sculpture was created from thin copper alloy sheeting, and because of this, it soon became unstable. And by 1962, the condition of the monument had worsened so severely that it had to be removed. In 1988, the sculpture was restored and returned to the Memorial. However, it continued to become unstable.
In 2008, the Institute for Culture and Society was tasked with assessing the condition of the Marrickville War Memorial. When it became evident that the monument could no longer withstand the severities of the outdoor display, the Marrickville War Memorial partner with the Marrickville Council to create a brief for its replacement.
By 2010, the monument was removed and stored. Then in 2013, the Marrickville Council commissioned a new monument for the Marrickville Memorial. And in 2014, they agreed to transfer the monument to the AWM in Canberra.
Treatment of the Sculpture
After the ownership of the sculpture was passed to the Australian War Memorial, the Institute for Culture and Society, on its behalf help conserve the sculpture. The process involved carefully splitting the upper half, which is the original part from later restorations, careful repair to make the monument stable, and the removal of the overpaint to reveal its original coating.
The Institute for Culture and Society then supervised the transfer of the sculpture to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. At its new home, it became the focal point of the Australian War Memorial's new World War One galleries.
The new sculpture was unveiled in April 2015. It was created by Darien Pullen and Corlett, and it pays homage to Gilbert Doble’s original sculpture but with small changes. For instance, the position of the sword held by Nike was changed to pointing down to earth rather than being raised.
This was made to stop the sculpture from acting as a lightning rod; it was discovered that it was the major reason the original kept deteriorating. So, Gilbert Doble’s legacy lives on, with the original been displayed at the Australian War Memorial. With the new sculpture being installed, the people of Marrickville once again can honor their local war heroes.
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