Memorial - WWII | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Memorial - WWII

Item details

Name of item: Memorial - WWII
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Monuments and Memorials
Category: War Memorial
Primary address: Upper Orara Road, Upper Orara, NSW 2450
Local govt. area: Coffs Harbour
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Upper Orara RoadUpper OraraCoffs Harbour   Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The Upper Orara war memorial is of high local significance as a small, locally built WWII memorial in a quiet rural setting. It is of high local significance for returned servicemen and the local families of those who died and as a designated gathering place for local commemorations. If damaged or destroyed, the Upper Orara community would feel the loss. Simple in design, the memorial and its landscape setting incorporates typical war memorial features (wreath, lettering, flagpole, symbolic cross path, formal symmetry etc) which invites contemplation of the notion of sacrifice and the remembrance and honouring of the past.
Date significance updated: 17 Jun 13
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Designer/Maker: RSL
Builder/Maker: RSL
Construction years: 1964-
Physical description: Simple memorial/cenotaph comprising a stepped concrete square base surmounted with low concrete plinth supporting a cast iron wreath bearing the words ‘Lest we forget’. Incised into the concrete below the plaque are the words, ‘In memory of the fallen’. White flag pole behind. Concrete path, forming a cross, leads to the memorial and surrounds it.

Located on a grassy slope next to the former All Saints Anglican Church. Avenue of pines behind the memorial may be a memorial planting. The open, grassy setting in a surrounding quiet rural landscape is part of its significance and power as a memorial.
Current use: Monument


Historical notes: Cedar cutting on a small scale extended to the minor creeks in the Coffs Harbour area. When the weather was suitable, timber was shipped out from Coffs Harbour, the logs floated out to vessels anchored off the coast. In the mid-1850s, cedar cutting spread to the Dorrigo Plateau. Here, logs were hauled by dray and bullocks to Armidale. The Upper Orara Valley was another good location, although logs from this area were hauled with great difficulty to Coffs Harbour for shipment. Two Crown Land Acts were passed in 1861, enabling areas held by leases, whether surveyed or not, to be available for selection and sale. Free selection created a new class of small farmers - the selectors. Only a few selections were made in the 1860s and 1870s, such as in the Woolgoolga area, and near the Orara River.

In 1881, land east of the Orara goldfield and on the coast were available as conditional purchases, such as the Moonee Creek settlement. Between 1883 and 1885, surveyors measured all Orara River and creek frontages from Coramba to the headwaters, in 40 to 150 acre blocks, characterised by fertile soil, thickly timbered. Blocks were surveyed along Bucca Creek also. The discovery of gold in the Orara River area occurred in 1881. Many prospectors came into the area, increasing the existing population of timber getters and creating both demand for leases or sale. In 1897, about 800 miners were in the Coramba, Orara and Karangi areas.

Rural settlements, such as Nana Glen, Coramba and Karangi, experienced rapid growth following gold discoveries. A Mining Warden's Office was established at Nana Glen in 1881. During the following years, areas of agricultural land were taken up by former gold miners and others attracted to the area. Dairying around the river flats of the Orara Valley was particularly successful. In 1902 a butter factory was set up in Coramba. In 1906, the factories at Bonville and Nana Glen were making cheese.

War memorial building
The unveiling and dedication of the cenotaph at Upper Orara (Public Hall) by Digger Max Lumsden, North Coast Councillor of RSL, on ANZAC Day 1964 was a memorable occasion in front of a large crowd. Located at the cross roads of Upper Orara and Dairyville Roads at Upper Orara under a gum tree and surrounded on all sides by wooded hills, near and distant, the cenotaph is set in typical Australian surroundings. The cenotaph, a beautiful piece of masonry in the shape of a cross known as a desk, is set on a six foot square base and is approximately three feet six inches high. It is the realisation of much foresight and planning by members of the local branch of the RSL who worked hard to have the cenotaph finished for ANZAC Day. The cenotaph is a memorial to members of the armed forces from Upper Orara and Karangi who gave their lives in the service of their country in two World Wars.

The efforts of members, Alan Hunter, Peter Coverdale, Jack Houlahan, Athol Manson and supervisor, Bill Mackay, have been highlighted.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Upper Orara War Memorial is of high local significance as a WWII memorial built by a dedicated group of locals and Upper Orara RSL sub-branch members to commemorate local men who lost their lives in WWII.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Of high local significance as a planned war memorial incorporating a plaque, concrete base and path, flag pole and possibly tree planting. Simple in design, the memorial and its landscape setting incorporates typical war memorial features (wreath, lettering, flagpole, symbolic cross path, formal symmetry etc) which invites contemplation of the notion of sacrifice and the remembrance and honouring of the past.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Of high local significance to the local Upper Orara community and this is demonstrated by the number of people involved in its creation and its ongoing annual use for marking anniversaries such as ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day. The memorial is of high social significance for returned servicemen and the local families of those remembered.
SHR Criteria f)
One of several war memorials within the Coffs Harbour local government area and of high local significance.
SHR Criteria g)
A good representative example of a simple, rural war memorial park.
Integrity/Intactness: Intact and well-maintained.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

Include in a Conservation Area within an LEP No Action, follow existing management controls Statutory Instrument: List on a Local Environmental Plan (LEP)


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan I9227 Sep 13   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
CRA Project NA 29/EH Thematic Forest History  Bickford, Anne and Brayshaw, Helen  Yes
Coffs Harbour Shire Heritage Study1987 Jamison Architects  Yes
Coffs Harbour Heritage Study2013 Robin Hedditch  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenNeil Yeates1990Coffs Harbour Vols 1 and 2
WrittenThe Coffs Harbour Advocate1964‘Cenotaph unveiled at Upper Orara’

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 1360228

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