I have begun my ANZAC Memorial Bridge writing residency at Kaiparoro! This morning I went to visit the bridge and was treated to a rainbow arching across the sky behind the grand old lady herself. A perfect welcome!
The focus for this year’s fellowship is the families of men who returned from the war – ‘Praise to the families”, who were left with the burden of rehabilitating the returned service men and women into the real world at home.
Being an engineer, I am interested in the man behind the bridge, Alfred Falkner, who was an outstanding and innovative engineer who lived with his family at Kaiparoro for many years. He lost both a son and a nephew at Gallipoli, and when the bridge design was nearing completion, Alfred was instrumental in the bridge becoming a memorial to those ANZACs who lost their lives in service to New Zealand.
I am also interested in the many different types of war memorials that people choose to erect. After WWI, there was a lot of debate about whether functional memorials, like the ANZAC Memorial Bridge, or symbolic memorials, like cenotaphs or obelisks, were most appropriate. The outcome was that most WWI memorials ended up being symbolic (with around 30% in the form of an obelisk). After WWII, however, a large number of functional memorials were built (e.g. war memorial halls), in large part thanks to incentivised subsidies offered by the government.
Ref: ‘Interpreting First World War memorials’, URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/interpreting-first-world-war-memorials, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 4-Sep-2014
My Fellowship Project
For my fellowship project, I’m keen to find out what people think about functional versus symbolic memorials today. I’d love to hear your views!
If you’re interested in participating in my project, please get in touch with your answers to the following questions:
- Where are you from?
- How old are you?
- Are any of your relatives named on a war memorial?
- Do you have a preference for practical or symbolic memorials? Is so, which?
- For yourself, what type of memorial would you prefer? All ideas welcome!
- Any special reasons for your preference?
- Any other comments you would like to add?
Thanks so much.