City of Caulfield Honor Roll 1914–1919
Although Caulfield City Council first started compiling names of soldiers, sailors and nurses from the Caulfield district as early as 1915, it would be more than a decade before they would be publicly displayed.
In June 1927, Caulfield Council proposed that the names be inscribed on a memorial planned for the intersection of Glen Eira and Hawthorn Roads. However, after some discussion, Caulfield Park was eventually deemed a more suitable location for the municipality’s major memorial.
Due to the nature of the chosen design and the sheer volume of names, it would soon prove impractical to inscribe the names onto the park memorial. A new site would need to be found, and major changes planned for the Town Hall would provide the perfect opportunity.
In 1930, Caulfield Town Hall underwent a major redevelopment, including the addition of the clocktower and the demolition and re-building of the main hall. A new entrance was also added to the Glen Eira road side, which included a ’colonnade portico opening on to a spacious memorial foyer, with a marble dado surmounted by bronze tablets’ (Age, 26/02/1931, p.10). Inscribed on these bronze tablets were the names of all those who enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces from Caulfield.
The magnificent bronze and marble memorial was officially unveiled on 25 February 1931. The memorial at Caulfield Park would be unveiled two months later.
The Honor Roll consists of 31 large bronze panels with 1,554 names listed in alphabetical order. The title and dedication is clearly displayed in large letters above the first nine panels and reads:
CITY OF CAULFIELD HONOR ROLL
ERECTED TO THE HONOR OF THE LIVING AND THE GLORY
OF THE DEAD WHO SERVED IN THE GREAT WAR 1914–1919
Based on Council records, it appears the criteria for inclusion was to have been living in the City of Caulfield at the time of enlistment. At the time of its construction, the municipality of Caulfield included the suburbs of Elsternwick, Balaclava, St Kilda East, Carnegie, Murrumbeena, Glen Huntly and Gardenvale.
As well as listing the names on the Honor Roll, Council presented certificates to local returned servicemen and women and to bereaved families.
In 2015, with funds made available through the Victorian Government, expert restoration work was undertaken by conservators from the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation. As part of the treatment, the bronze and marble panels were vacuumed to remove dust and dirt. Losses in the marble were filled with plaster, then smoothed and painted to match the veins and colours within the existing marble.
This magnificent and highly significant memorial is now preserved for current and future generations to revere.
Glen Eira City Council gratefully acknowledges the Victorian Government’s support through the Restoring Community War Memorials and Avenue of Honour Grants Programs to assist in the restoration of the Town Hall WWI Honor Roll.
Image: City of Caulfield Honor Roll 1914–1919 Title Panel.
Image: Caulfield Town Hall Foyer, c.1930. Note the ticket box in the centre of the room.