On Saturday September 5 more than 200 people gathered to celebrate the return of the Roll of Honour to the Laggan Memorial Hall and to pay their respects to the 59 men of the Laggan district who served the Empire in the second world war.
There were many local friends and family members in attendance as well as many who had travelled from Canberra, Sydney and the South Coast.
Guests were welcomed by the Laggan Primary School Captains, Kiera Whittle and Koen Treacy. Koen is the 4th cousin of Joseph and Laurence Treacy.
The Roll of Honour was unveiled by Maurice Woods and Clinton Skelly. Maurice served in the RAAF in the second world war and his name is on the Honour Board. Clinton Skelly’s brothers Bertie, Clyde and Francis are also on the board. Unfortunately Bertie and Clyde were two of the nine who made the supreme sacrifice and were killed in action.
Kevin McCormack has lived in the Laggan district most of his life and he told the history of the hall and included some humorous and serious memories from the hall’s heyday. Stories such as during a dance to raise money for the war effort, Ted Mooney, a young man from Taralga, dressed in black and wearing a mask rode his horse into the hall, picking up a young lady, Grace McIntosh, and riding out the side door. This of course was met with much hilarity. There were Australia Day and New Year sports days followed by a ball at the hall as well as card nights, juvenile dances and parties. The hall was the hub of the community.
Kevin King is the President of the Crookwell RSL Sub-Branch, which is where the honour board has been in safekeeping for some years. He said he was pleased to see the honour board back in its rightful home and he paid tribute to the committee of the Laggan Memorial Hall who has worked so hard to restore the hall to its former glory.
Thank you to Chris Fenton who liaised with the Crookwell RSL Sub-Branch for the return of the Memorial Board and the loan of their ceremonial flags which added much to the atmosphere on the day. Chris was also master of ceremonies for the event. The RSL kindly loaned a set of ceremonial flags to Laggan for the day which added to the atmosphere.
Also present on Saturday were some of our older citizens. Annie Evans, 97 years of age the sister of Leslie Arnall. Ina Clarke, 94 years of age, the wife of Wilfred Clarke. Maurice Woods, 90 years of age and his name is on the honour board.
Reverend Jonathan Cole led everyone in a prayer for the rededication of the Roll of Honour in which he praised the spirit of those who risked their own safety for everyone’s freedom. He also made special mention of those at home who loved them, worried for them, who got on with the business of farming and maintaining community and family and who cared so much that they added the brick memorial frontage and dedicated the roll of honour in memory of their service and sacrifice.
The names of the 59 persons on the Honour Roll were read out by relatives of those on the Roll. Many thanks to Peter Anderson, son of Tom Anderson; Gwen O’Brien sister of Jack McIntosh and Mathew Skelly, grandson of Frank Skelly.
There were many people involved in the success of the day. Special mention must go to Allan & Sue Townsend and Helen Smith for their tireless work on the Laggan Hall Committee and the research they did . Allan has advised that a grant has been obtained which will pay for the majority of the replacement costs of the existing roof .
Thank you to Trevene Mattox who, along with Helen Smith, put together the display boards showing photos of the nine fallen soldiers; a board of the returned WWII veterans; the Australian Women’s Land Army and a separate board with a photographic history of the hall from its early days to its current renovated state.
Thank you to Sylvia Cullen for the artistic making of the unveiling curtain. This will continue to hang in the hall.
James Evans, son of James Evans provided the sound system for the ceremony, thank you.
The hall was tastefully adorned with red and green flower arrangements by Marion Jordan and Becky Charnock volunteered to be the photographer on the day. Thank you both.
At the end of the formal ceremony the country catering came to the fore. It was reminiscent of hospitality in days gone by as tables groaned under the weight of the food provided for afternoon tea. Special thanks to Lyne Edwards and the ladies for such a well-coordinated and enjoyable end to what was a wonderful afternoon of memories and camaraderie.