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The Memorial Cross at Mount Macedon

The Memorial Cross located at the summit of Mount Macedon is Victoria’s second most significant war memorial after the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. Mount Macedon is situated 65km North West of Melbourne CBD. The top of the summit also provides spectacular views of the landscape around. The Memorial Cross was listed on the Victorian Heritage Register on 1 September 1994

 

The original cross was constructed here by William Cameron, a businessman and resident of Mount Macedon, between 1932 and 1935. Cameron wished to provide a permanent memorial to the Australian servicemen and women who lost their lives in World War I. At the same time, he would be able to employ people who would be out of work during Great Depression. He applied to the Forest Commission on 3rd June 1932 for permission to occupy a site near the summit to erect a memorial cross in the form of a simple Latin Cross to be lit at night and visible from Melbourne. Permission was granted and construction began in 1932, entirely at the expense of Mr Cameron. Construction was in the form of a steel frame on to which earthenware tiles manufactured by Wunderlich Pty Ltd were wired to provide an attractive and allegedly weatherproof surface. The steel frame was manufactured in Melbourne and erected in one day and one hour. Memorial Cross was officially dedicated to the Australian Service people killed in First World War on 16th March 1935 by then Victorian Premier, Stanley Argyle. The total cost incurred was £10,000 which was paid by William Cameron. The Gisborne Shire Council contributed £200.

Although the original cross withstood the ravages of time and weather for 60 years, attacks by lightning in 1975 and the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires finally reduced it to a condition in which it was unsafe, and it had to be fenced off from the public due to the danger of falling tiles. Steps had to be taken to determine the alternatives of either restoration or complete rebuilding of the cross. It was finally decided that repairs would not be effective, and that complete rebuilding required.  The historic building Council which by that time listed the cross and Memorial Reserve as an historic site assisted the Trustees and Committee of Management in their plan to demolish the unsafe structure and to devise plans for a new cross to have a similar appearance and the same dimension as the original one.

The demolition of old cross began in March 1995, under the direction of Grollo brothers of Melbourne and their families who had made a magnificent offer to remove the old cross and to completely rebuild a new one in reinforced concrete in accordance with trustees and Historic Buildings Council specifications. Demolition was done carefully to preserve as many as possible of the Wunderlich tiles which have since been cut into small pieces, mounted on local timber and are being sold as souvenirs.  The foundation did not have to be removed but were used as the base for new cross.

The new cross was largely constructed at Grollo factory at Preston to exacting specifications and under the supervision of the trustees and committee of management’s consulting engineers, Façade Technology and Historic Buildings Council. The Grollo Consulting teams were highly skilled and carried out all their tasks to complete satisfaction. The great moment of the arrival of the main stem of the cross and the top cross part was on 19th May 1995. The parts were transported by road with special permission and were finally put together with the aid of a vey large crane on 20th May 1995.

The Grollo family also renewed all the terracing and stonework surrounding the cross and to strengthen the outer perimeter stone supporting wall.

There is a small garden around the memorial cross in the native bushland setting.

Details

Address: 405 Cameron Drive, Mount Macedon, Victoria, Australia

Facilities

Parking space, BBQ, seating, toilets, and Café with a view

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