Farewell planned as Cromwell looks to demo memorial hall

by Kim Bowden - Apr 02, 2024

The Cromwell RSA will commemorate a final Anzac Day at the cenotaph beside the town's memorial hall before the area becomes a construction site.

Members of the Cromwell Community Board were this afternoon provided an update on plans to officially farewell the hall, which has hosted community functions as well as RSA activities since the early 1960s.

In a report Central Otago District Council property and facilities manager Garreth Robinson tells the elected members of the board it is appropriate for the farewelling function to take place after Anzac Day, "so the RSA can observe their final remembrance before the gardens and cenotaph are relocated to the new site".

An architect's vision for the cenotaph in its shifted location, front and centre of the planned events centre and museum in Cromwell (Image CODC/Jasmax).

Members of the community as well as former and present local politicians will all be on the invite list, with the event slated for either Friday, April 26 or Monday, April 29.

There is to be a dawn blessing and speeches, followed by refreshments at the neighbouring Town and Country Club, as the hall itself has not been in use for several years.

Mr Robinson says the hall has "been part of the lives of the Cromwell and wider communities" and "seen many family events such as 21st celebrations, weddings and funerals".

"This is about celebrating the past and acknowledging we are now making way for the future."

In July last year the council voted to demolish the hall and allow the contractor charged with building its replacement to salvage what material it could from it for the new build.

At the end of February the council voted to move forward with Naylor Love as its construction partner on the $45.8-million events centre to be located on the lakeside site of the old hall.

In a statement at the time of the decision, council indicated once the demolition is undertaken the build will take approximately two years to complete.

Plans allow for the cenotaph and memorial gardens to be relocated to the entrance of the new complex, adjacent to Melmore Terrace, although this move has not been without controversy.

Main image: The cenotaph that sits beside the condemned Cromwell War Memorial Hall will host a final Anzac Day in 2024.

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