RSL digs in over war hero statue

President of the Broken Hill RSL branch, Des Kennedy, says if Council insists they move the location of their proposed statue, they’ll scrap the plan altogether.

In November last year the RSL submitted plans to City Council to place a statue of WWI soldier and Victoria Cross recipient, Reginald Roy Inwood, on the footpath in front of the RSL branch office on Argent Street.

The Broken Hill man received the Victoria Cross for his exploits on the Western Front in 1917, including single-handedly storming and capturing a German strong-post and some of its soldiers, going behind enemy lines to retrieve information on enemy movements, and attacking and destroying an enemy machine gun post.

He is the only local serviceman to win the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award presented for gallantry in the face of the enemy. 

The local RSL branch, the Roy Inwood VC House, is named for the soldier, and Des Kennedy has spent the last four years working to erect a life-size statue of the hero out front of the building.

After failing to secure government assistance, the club decided to fund the statue itself, and submitted a development application to Council.

“We put it in and the council had a look and they seemed to want it somewhere else, like up at the war memorial,” Mr Kennedy said.

“We thought it was important to put him by our building because it’s named after him, we’ve got replicas of his medals there, we’re in the process of putting down pavers with veterans’ names on them and this will finish the front of the RSL off, We just want to honour our only VC recipient,” he said.

“They said it’s not the area to have it because the memorials are further up the street.

“Up there is for everyone that served, not one person in particular, so it wouldn’t be fair to have this memorial for one man there.”

The club has been speaking to a Perth sculptor about the statue, which they are hoping to have made from copper as an almost life-size replica of the man.

Mr Kennedy said the RSL branch had held a general meeting this week and the continued mood from members was that if the statue couldn’t be placed out front of the RSL it shouldn’t go ahead.

“We’re not out to upset anyone, all we want is the memorial out front of the building dedicated to him,” he said.

“If they want to put it somewhere else we’re not interested because it’s not for us then.

“We want to do it so we have it open on Remembrance Day after the service, which is the last day of the centenary of WWI, which he fought in.”

Mr Kennedy understands the matter will be discussed further by councillors at the council meeting held at the end of this month, and said he hopes they support the RSL club in this matter.