Wellsford War Memorial

Wellsford War Memorial

Wellsford Memorial Library Wellsford Memorial Library Original Wellsford Memorial Library Original Wellsford Memorial Library Wellsford Memorial Library Wellsford Memorial Library Wellsford Memorial Library Wellsford Memorial Library Wellsford Memorial Library Wellsford Memorial Library

On 25 April 1937 Gordon Coates, MP for Kaipara, himself a war veteran, unveiled the Wellsford First World War memorial. The memorial consisted of a bluestone arch of remembrance and ornamental iron gates at the entrance to the local showground. A granite tablet on one pillar listed the names of nine of the district’s fallen.

Another tablet was added after the Second World War with a further 17 names. However, the town’s principal Second World War memorial was utilitarian rather than symbolic: a war memorial library. In December 1954 the Wellsford library was moved into the new war memorial building beside the main road. A memorial shrine was set up in the foyer, where a wooden tablet was displayed listing 21 names from the First World War and 23 from the Second World War.

In 1958 the First World War memorial, which had come close to collapsing, was rebuilt without the arch.

In 2013 a new library building was erected beside the old showground, now known as War Memorial Park. The new library was opened with a dawn blessing on 17 June 2013 and a community celebration on 22 June 2013. As part of the project, the pillars from the war memorial gate were repositioned in the plaza in front of the library. The roll of honour from the old library was also transferred to the new library.

The main image and first two thumbnails show the gates in their original location at the entrance to Wellsford Memorial Park in 2009. Then there are images of the original Memorial library.

The other images show the gates in their new location in front of the Wellsford Memorial Library where they were moved in June 2013. The final image shows the roll of honour board inside the library. Plaques on the gates commemorate Armistice DayVE Day and VJ Day.

Sources: ‘Memorial Gates Unveiled’, Auckland Star, 26/4/1937, p. 4; ‘Unveiling Ceremony: Wellsford War Memorial’, NZ Herald, 27/4/1937, p. 10; ‘Wellsford Notes’, Rodney and Otamatea Times, 28/4/1937, p. 7; ‘Memorial Gates Toppling at Wellsford’, Northern Advocate, 21 September 1957, p. 9; ‘Wellsford Memorial to be Rebuilt’, Northern Advocate, 18 October 1957, p. 2; ‘Voluntary Labour Assists Wellsford Library’, Lower North Weekly News, 28/8/1963 (Auckland Libraries NZ Scrapbooks, July 1963-January 1964, p. 187); H. Mabbett, Wellsford: Tidal Creek to Gum Ridge, Wellsford, 1968, p. 8-1, 261, 311-3; also 2nd ed., Wellsford, 2012, pp. 41, 411-15; Auckland’s First World War Heritage Trail, Auckland, 2014, p. 8.


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