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August 23, 2019

Finally resting

A peaceful resting place for two German World War I relics belies their brutal and savage origins.  

Earlier this year, RSL LifeCare’s Lara Aged Care Facility in the NSW town of Dungog became the new home for the two German mortars, salvaged from the Battlefields of the Somme in 1918. 

Chequered past now inspires reflection

The German Mittlerer Minenwerfers (trench mortars) were impounded in France during the war, travelled to Australia, and have been in the Dungog area since the 1920s. Here they were a reminder of the dedication by locals to the war effort. 

Since that time the weapons have “resided” in a number of places in the area before being put in storage following vandalism.  

Most recently they were carefully refurbished in a two-year restoration project by members of Dungog’s Lions Club. 

Rather than the death and destruction for which they were designed, the light trench mortars now inspire peaceful reflection of a more brutal time. 

Lara facility manager Jo Earley said the mortars were an important symbol for the RSL LifeCare brand. 

“It tells people who we are,” she said. 

MrEarley said wellattended official ceremony welcomed the display just prior to ANZAC Day this year. It was followed by a morning tea. 

“We also have a jeep and used it along with the mortars and a donkey as visual reminderin our ANZAC Day service, she said.  

Photo caption (from left to right): Kim Wright (Dungog Lions), Tom Banister and Nick Helyer (Dungog RSL Sub-Branch) and Lara Aged Care Facility Manager Jodeane Taylor with the World War I mortars. 

Story by Rod Bennett

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