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Victor Denton War Memorial

Place Details
Place ID 600414
Registration Type State Heritage
Place Name Victor Denton War Memorial
Place Classification Built
Place Category Monuments and Memorials
Place Type Memorial/Monument
Themes 8 Creating social and cultural institutions / 8.6 Commemorating significant events
1 Peopling places / 1.4 Family and marking the phases of life
Register Entry Date 21/10/1992

Address Nobby Cemetery
Town / Suburb NOBBY
Post Code 4360

Cultural Heritage Significance
Principal Period
of Significance
1915-(social) 1915 (historical, fabric)
Criterion A War Memorials are important in demonstrating the pattern of Queensland's history as they are representative of a recurrent theme that involved most communities throughout the state. They provide evidence of an era of widespread Australian patriotism and nationalism, particularly during and following the First World War. The monuments manifest a unique documentary record and are demonstrative of popular taste in the inter-war period.
Criterion B It is of particular significance as the first known memorial to the First World War, as well as being one of the few memorials dedicated to a single person and erected in a cemetery.
Criterion D The monuments manifest a unique documentary record and are demonstrative of popular taste in the inter-war period. Erected in 1915, the war memorial at Nobby demonstrates the principal characteristics of a commemorative structure erected as an enduring record of a major historical event. This is achieved through the use of appropriate materials and design elements.
Criterion E The memorial in its cemetery setting is of aesthetic significance for its landmark qualities.
Criterion G It has a strong and continuing association with the community as evidence of the impact of a major historic event and as the focal point for the remembrance of that event.
Criterion H It also has special association with the masonry firm of Bruce Brothers as an example of their workmanship.

History The Victor Denton War Memorial at Nobby was erected in 1915 and was made by Bruce Brothers, monumental masons of Toowoomba. Funds for the memorial were raised by local residents of the district, making it an uncommon example of a public memorial erected in a cemetery. The memorial honours Private Victor Denton who was killed at the Dardenelles on 16 June 1915 and is the first known memorial of the First World War erected in Queensland. The town of Nobby is located on the Darling Downs. The first white settlers arrived on the Downs in search of rich grazing land and by the 1840s, led by the Leslie brothers and John Campbell had established over twenty stations. These stations prospered until their expansion was curbed due to the pressures of selection legislation and land was resumed for agricultural use. The area, which had previously been a primary producer of wool, diversified into wheat and dairy farming. By the 1920s, wheat had become the primary crop with State experimental farms providing the area with superior varieties of wheat. Australia, and Queensland in particular, had few civic monuments before the First World War. The memorials erected in its wake became our first national monuments, recording the devastating impact of the war on a young nation. Australia lost 60 000 from a population of about 4 million, representing one in five of those who served. No previous or subsequent war has made such an impact on the nation. Even before the end of the war, memorials became a spontaneous and highly visible expression of national grief. To those who erected them, they were as sacred as grave sites, substitute graves for the Australians whose bodies lay in battlefield cemeteries in Europe and the Middle East. British policy decreed that the Empire war dead were to be buried where they fell. The word 'cenotaph', commonly applied to war memorials at the time, literally means 'empty tomb'. Australian war memorials are distinctive in that they commemorate not only the dead. Australians were proud that their first great national army, unlike other belligerent armies, was composed entirely of volunteers, men worthy of honour whether or not they paid the supreme sacrifice. Many memorials honour all who served from a locality, not just the dead, providing valuable evidence of community involvement in the war. Such evidence is not readily obtainable from military records, or from state or national listings, where names are categorised alphabetically or by military unit. Australian war memorials are also valuable evidence of imperial and national loyalties, at the time, not seen as conflicting; the skills of local stonemasons, metalworkers and architects; and of popular taste. In Queensland, the soldier statue was the popular choice of memorial, whereas the obelisk predominated in the southern states, possibly a reflection of Queensland's larger working-class population and a lesser involvement of architects. Many of the First World War monuments have been updated to record local involvement in later conflicts, and some have fallen victim to unsympathetic re-location and repair. There were many different types of memorials in Queensland, however the broken column was more commonly used as a funereal monument, symbolic of life cut short. When the erection of memorials became prolific in Queensland, it was unusual for them to be located in graveyards, as this one is. They were more likely to be erected in more publicly accessible places such as gardens or intersections.

Description The First World War Memorial is situated in a cemetery located away from the town centre. The cemetery is on a sloping site in a sparsely treed landscape, making it a dominant local landmark. The concrete and stone memorial is located within the Denton family plot alongside the grave of Victor Denton's parents. The plot is surrounded by a low fence comprising concrete tapered plinths which are joined by a steel rod. The elevated surface is laid with octagonal pavers. The memorial itself sits on a base which is square in plan with a chamfered top edge. From this projects a short pedestal, also with a chamfered top edge. The front face has a marble plaque with an inscription in memory of Victor Denton in cut and blackened lettering. The pedestal is surmounted by a broken column with a simply moulded base.

Element Name Victor Denton War Memorial
Design Period 1914 - 1919 World War I
Construction Period 1915 - 1915
Place Components Memorial - other
Memorial surrounds/railings

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Last updated: 15 March 2013

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