Harrington Estates latest development, Catherine Park was yesterday the venue for the unveilling of a new ANZAC display commemorating two WWI diggers in a project commissioned by Catherine Park Estate land developer, Harrington Estates.
The commemorations are focused on two local servicemen who did not return after service in Gallipoli in 1915; Camden farmer Hector Small and Camden tailor Milton Thornton.
The project to commemorate two local servicemen is important to Harrington Estates to strongly respect the past and honour the fact that and community developers owe a great deal to the freedoms the ANZACs secured. The commemorations include displays and books available for all to view and read at Catherine Park House.
Terry Goldacre, Managing Director of Harrington Estates, spoke to the gathered crowd at the unveiling event – including Camden Mayor Lara Symkowiak and direct descendants of Milton Thornton – about the importance of this project.
“We have recently started building the new community of Catherine Park and we think that this is an appropriate time to remember our ANZACs. After all, we are only able to build these new communities because of the freedoms that our ANZACs secured. And future residents of our communities will continue to enjoy these freedoms,” says Mr Goldacre.
“To us, Hector Small and Milton Thornton are representative of the many who served. We have undertaken research on these two servicemen and we now want to tell their stories in order to remember them and the many who never came home,” he says.
In attendance were Milton Thornton’s niece Lola Hutchinson, 86, and nephew Max Thornton, 83, who were supported by their children and grandchildren. They are the children of Milton’s oldest brother Charles Dudley Thornton (born 1901) and his wife Bessie Goodman, who were married in November 1924. It was an especially poignant ceremony for them, a moving tribute to the uncle they never had the opportunity to meet and the sacrifices of their parents’ generation.
In speaking at the event, Max Thornton recalled the amazing coincidence that binds these two servicemen and their families together.
“Two servicemen went away, Milton and his friend Hector Small. Little did they know that many years later their nephews would become great friends.
“Fred Small and I grew up together, went to school together and were great rivals in cycling and on the football field.”
The servicemen were selected from the over 400 men and women who volunteered for active WW1 service from the area. These two diggers were chosen due to their close links to the Camden district, both being born, educated and employed within the area with one also marrying a local young girl from Brownlow Hill.
The historical significance of unveiling these commemorations on 19 October is that 101 years ago these men boarded the boats at Woolloomooloo wharf destined for overseas. The boats left Sydney on 20 October 1914, first to sale to Albany, Western Australia where the fleet came together before being sent to Egypt for training, and then on to Gallipoli.
About the research
The research team that complied these commemorations thanked the local custodians of Camden’s history for their years of research and various historical projects.
The vast amount of information and research available from the Camden Historical Society, Camden Library Services and Camden Returned Services League Sub Branch was invaluable to the research and in putting together these commemorations. The website Camden Remembers, a joint venture from these local organisations, is an amazing resource to start any research on local people who have served across all conflicts.
The commemorations are on display and books available for all to view and read at Catherine Park House.