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Pioneers honoured

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March 08, 2018

Anne Vickers, Craig Forster, John Crilly (RSL), Laurie Young (RSL Pres-partly obscured), Rob Axen (RSL), Ron Gregory and Julie Lee unveil the wall.

RSL Members and affiliates stand behind the new dedication wall.

Around the time of Federation, the Australian and state governments acquired large rural holdings to break them up into smaller rural farms for settlers.

During and following World War I, returning soldiers facing unemployment were encouraged to take up farming on these holdings.

Many were from the cities and had limited or no farming experience, but the scheme persisted despite these failings.

Those who were successful became the pioneer farmers in their local districts.

After many years of planning, Girgarre RSL unveiled their dedication wall on Sunday, February 25.

The wall commemorates ‘‘Closer and World War I Soldiers in the Stanhope North and Girgarre District’’.

Girgarre RSL president Laurie Young was impressed with the turnout.

Local Shire of Campaspe councillors were well represented along with members of local RSL clubs from the surrounding areas and many descendants of the early pioneering farmers.

Neil Grummitt was the emcee for the day.

He was a former Girgarre farmer and former councillor of the then Shire of Deakin.

Mr Grummitt’s duties included introducing various speakers such as Campaspe Mayor Adrian Weston, RSL members John Crilly, Robert Axen and Laurie Young, and Girgarre community leaders Sandra McDonald of the Girgarre Rail Trail and Jan Smith of the Girgarre Development Group.

Ron Gregory and Craig Forster from Girgarre, Anne Vickers of Kyabram and Julie Lee from Ivanhoe in NSW unveiled the wall.

The day concluded with all attendees invited to adjourn to Girgarre Memorial Hall for a magnificent afternoon tea sponsored by the Rushworth and District Community Bank and prepared by Girgarre community members.

—John Crilly, Secretary, Girgarre RSL

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