Cenotaph soldier assumes new post

The Cromwell Cenotaph soldier is carefully moved from his stand next to the old, now demolished,...
The Cromwell Cenotaph soldier is carefully moved from his stand next to the old, now demolished, town hall. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
He has stood guard through wind, snow and sunshine for more than 100 years but only moved twice.

The soldier, who had graced the top of the Cromwell cenotaph since 1923, was shifted last week to a temporary site while the town’s new hall and events centre is built.

It was not his first move, nor will it be his last.

As well as the marble soldier, the World War 1 memorial plaque and stone were moved for safekeeping. The cenotaph will stand at the Cromwell Town and Country Club until the memorial garden in the new hall is ready in about two years.

Central Otago District Council property and facilities manager Garreth Robinson said he was pleased and relieved to see the cenotaph and all the elements of the memorial safely tucked away.

"We recognise how important the cenotaph and memorial are to Cromwell people and to the Central Otago district, and how much of a focal point it has been and will continue to be when relocated on the site in the memorial garden,’’ Mr Robinson said.

The Cromwell Memorial Hall was demolished last month to make way for a new memorial hall and events centre.

In the 1980s the cenotaph was relocated from the town’s entrance by the old bridge during the Clyde Dam construction.

Last week’s move went without a hitch and took about two hours, Mr Robinson said.

The 14-tonne cenotaph was braced to prevent the marble being damaged.

The bases were horizontally cut and the assembly secured by a steel frame and supports to keep the marble statue attached to the concrete plinth.

After being lifted by a 100-tonne crane it was moved to its temporary site using an articulate flatbed truck.