By Jed Lanyon
Liberal Casey MP Tony Smith has pledged $75,000 to complete the remaining three panels of the new Seville War Memorial if re-elected.
The first stage of the project will be unveiled on Sunday 12 May to mark the centenary of the homecoming of local Victoria Cross recipient George Ingram.
Mr Smith made the announcement on Thursday 9 May with Lilydale RSL President Don Parsons, Mount Evelyn RSL President Roger Boness and local military historian and chair of the Seville War Memorial Committee Anthony McAleer.
“Since the commencement of the project in 2015 the Seville community has worked tirelessly to raise the funds to complete this fitting memorial.”
“This is an important project for our community and I am proud to be able to make this announcement,” Mr Smith said.
In 2017, the federal government funded $14,000 towards the project as part of the local Casey Centenary of Anzac Grants Programme and Saluting their Service Commemorative Grants Scheme.
In total, over $110,000 has been raised through funding from Yarra Ranges Council, the state government and local charity fundraising to construct the foundation and framework of the memorial and to put in place the first glass panel dedicated to George Ingram.
“It’s absolutely magnificent, we’re over the moon, and we’ve been working really hard for the Seville community to get them a memorial,” Mr McAleer said.
“With this announcement, this will achieve a long term goal that we’ve had, to get the memorial completed and to get the stories that are going to be on the memorial out there.
“When this memorial is up and running it’s going to be educating people for generations,” he said.
While the George Ingram memorial panel is officially in place, it has been covered in anticipation for the official unveiling by Alex Ingram, the son of George.
“It’s already starting to generate interest… the public are starting to slow down, have a look and ask questions,” Mr Boness said.
“The quest of the RSL’s is to make sure that our younger generations know about their past military and local history and this is a huge step in that direction.”
The official opening will take place at 2.00pm near the Seville Water Play Park.
“This has probably shortened our work by about two years if it comes to fruition,” Mr Parsons said.
“Because the design is so specific, it will remain in perpetuity. It won’t fade, it won’t do anything because of the glass and the way it’s built, it’ll be here for as long as any of us will ever live.”