The Caloundra RSL Sub-Branch with assistance from Sunshine Coast Council are proposing to install two bronze World War II statues in an existing garden bed at Kings Beach to recognise the role our Caloundra Region played during the World Wars.

Image of WWII statue render within existing garden bed

Community engagement

The Caloundra RSL Sub-Branch and Council invite the community to have your say on the proposed location of two bronze statues. Click on the poll below.

The proposed location for the statues is within an existing garden area at Kings Beach. This adjoins a main pedestrian thoroughfare. The installation of the statues involve the removal of the existing tree and landscaping. New landscaping will be planted with the statues. View the proposed location below.

Aerial image of proposed statue location

Where to from here

Once the community provides feedback, Council will liaise with Caloundra RSL Sub-Branch to gather results. We will continue to collaborate towards finalising the approval process to allow for the installation of each statue.

Overview

The purpose of this artwork project is to recognise the significant role that the Caloundra region played during both of the World Wars. In particular the use of Kings Beach as a parade ground during WWII.

Our vision for the artwork is to help tell a story of our local history for local residents and visitors. Additionally, the statues will honour the veterans and citizens of this region.

The proposed bronze statues intend to create a scene symbolic of WWII military personnel:

  • A nurse attending and providing comfort to a wounded soldier on a stretcher
  • A soldier on guard protecting his fellow comrades and the hallow ground.

Two local WWII veterans provided the inspiration for the proposed WWII bronze sculptures.

The sculptures represent all participants in the events of WWII that occurred at Caloundra. This includes the stories that relate to the service men and women. For example, the detail of the rosary held by the wounded soldier is a reference from the book “Kokoda” by Peter Fitzsimons. He described a scene with a nurse treating a wounded service man named Joe Dawson who carried his fiancé’s rosary with him throughout his service.

The nurse in this drawing is Faye Clarke. Faye is a local Caloundra veteran who served as a nurse in Australia, Borneo, and Papua New Guinea during WWII. She is now 103 years old and lives in a retirement village in Caloundra.

Image of nurse

Raymond (Ray) Cook is the local Caloundra soldier as depicted as the “On Guard” statue. Ray served as a gunman on Bribie Island during WWII, amongst many other posts throughout the war.

Image of soldier on guard

Background

Caloundra during WWII

The role of Caloundra during WWII was significant, yet it’s not widely known. The Australian War Memorial records show 30 units were stationed or deployed from Caloundra. To the uninitiated that could mean up to 30,000 men and women.

All branches of the military were represented. However it mainly consisted of Australian infantry, armour, artillery and support troops. Red Cross nurses attended the sick and wounded soldiers at the hospital. This was located at Strathallan guesthouse, Lower Gay Terrace Caloundra.

Kings Beach during WWII

Kings Beach played an important role during WWII and was the main parade ground for the military. Between 1939 and 1945, it is estimated 20,000 to 30,000 soldiers stood on the white sand and parade ground of Kings Beach.

The ‘Parade Ground’ at Kings Beach is considered a holy place. For many, it’s considered a place where the spirits of fallen soldiers still reside to visit their mates.

The photo below shows the Kings Beach Parade Ground in action.

Image of Kings Beach parade

Significance of Parade Ground

Within the Australian Army, the Parade Ground holds a symbolic representation. This is a sanctuary of a unit’s fallen soldiers and in line with this symbolism is deemed ‘hallowed ground.’

A term used in line with the Parade Ground is ‘holding ground’ and by definition is troops keeping the ground. Troops are positioned at the corners of a parade ground to 'hold ground.' These troops are equipped with weapons such as lances, mortars and guns. This symbolism provides protection to the unit parading to carry out its ceremonial duties safely.

Contacts

For more information, please contact council’s Design Practice and Advocacy Officer on (07) 5475 7272.