War Memorial

Te Maire Park, State Highway 57/Plimmer Terrace, Shannon

  • War Memorial, Shannon.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Robert McLean. Date: 6/11/2009.
  • War Memorial, Shannon.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Chih-Hsuan Chen. Date: 30/06/2017.
  • War Memorial, Shannon. Inscription.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Robert McLean. Date: 6/11/2009.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 4074 Date Entered 2nd July 1982

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Legal Road (State Highway 57), Wellington Land District, and the structure known as War Memorial thereon. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Rārangi Kōrero Committee meeting on 31 May 2018.

City/District Council

Horowhenua District

Region

Horizons (Manawatu-Wanganui) Region

Legal description

Legal Road (State Highway 57), Wellington Land District

Summaryopen/close

The monument located prominently at Shannon’s Te Maire Park commemorates local soldiers who served in World War One, World War Two and the Vietnam War. It was completed and unveiled in 1924, with more names added subsequently. It has historical and social heritage significance as a lasting reminder of the great impact of these international conflicts on the local community. As part of a national wave of war memorial building in the 1920s, the Shannon monument demonstrates how New Zealanders coped with the aftermath of World War One, and it continues to be a focal point of remembrance ceremonies such as Anzac Day.

Shannon developed from land opened up for sale by the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company in 1887, and grew steadily from that time, supported by farming and the booming flax and timber milling industries. By the 1911 census, Shannon had a population of 752. The declaration of war between the British Empire and Germany in August 1914 had a huge impact on the township. Around 150 local men went overseas for military duty, and the remaining community supported the war effort with many patriotic fundraising events. Everyone in Shannon was affected by the absence of those who were away, and the lives of the family and friends of the 24 local men who did not come home were changed forever.

The need to honour those who had served and provide a place for the grieving to visit in the absence of a gravesite was no doubt discussed immediately after the war ended in November 1918. However, the proposal for a ‘soldiers’ memorial’ gathered momentum from 1920 under the leadership of Shannon’s mayor, Mr William Murdoch. For the next few years, the community held numerous fundraising events and collections.

By May 1922 a design for the memorial had been drafted and its location was being debated. It was not until 1923 that a concrete obelisk, designed by the Borough Engineer, Mr R. Edwards, F.N.Z.I.A., and the prominent site on Plimmer Terrace were settled on. Messrs J.W. Fisher and Co.’s tender for £180 was accepted in August 1923 and construction began. The resulting obelisk tapered to a sharp point from a square base which rested on a stepped plinth. A cornice and tympanums sat above marble plaques inscribed not only with the names of the district’s fallen, but also of all the local men who had fought in defence of the empire. While the obelisk was the most popular form for memorials at this time, only a fifth of the World War One memorials built in New Zealand included the names of all who had served.

The memorial was unveiled by His Worship Mr Murdoch on 25 April 1924. It was the first of many Anzac Day services held at the monument, which became also known as the Shannon Cenotaph. Following World War Two, plaques with the names of twelve men were added. The memorial now also honours a soldier in the Vietnam War, and four more names were added in 2011 following new research into the Gallipoli campaign.

For many years the obelisk remained in fairly stark surroundings in the road reserve. In 1994 the redevelopment of Te Maire Park began. The monument is now in a setting of established native trees and a memorial garden, which includes a flagpole and the Percy Nation Memorial (List No. 4067) which was relocated there in 2001.

Linksopen/close

Construction Professionalsopen/close

J. W. Fisher & Co. Ltd.

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

R. Edwards

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1923 - 1924

Addition
1924 -
Plaque added noting that the monument had been unveiled by W. Murdoch, Esq., Mayor of Shannon, on April 25th 1924

Modification
-
The area around the base of the monument was concreted

Addition
1946 -
A Roll of Honour plaque for World War Two soldiers was added

Modification
-
Two names added to the World War Two Roll of Honour

Maintenance/repairs
-
Cleaning and maintenance

Addition
1969 - 1970
A Plaque commemorating a Vietnam War soldier was added

Modification
2011 -
Four more names added to the World War One Roll of Honour

Completion Date

9th May 2018

Report Written By

Blyss Wagstaff

Information Sources

Law, 1987

Marjorie D. Law, From bush & swamp: the centenary of Shannon, 1887-1897, Palmerston North, 1987

Phillips, 2016

Phillips, Jock, To the Memory: New Zealand War Memorials, Potton & Burton, New Zealand, 2016

Kete Horowhenua

Kete Horowhenua

Summary of the Effects of World War One on Shannon, Kete Horowhenua, http://horowhenua.kete.net.nz/site/documents/show/1310-summary-of-effects-of-world-war-one-on-shannon

Kete Horowhenua

Kete Horowhenua

Those Who Served, Kete Horowhenua, http://horowhenua.kete.net.nz/site/documents/show/1243-those-who-served

Other Information

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Central Regional Office of Heritage New Zealand