FOR the past 12 months it has been sitting in a toilet in an abandoned section of the Newcastle Store.
But on Monday, a marble piece of the city’s military history was moved to a more dignified location.
A combined rescue effort from two of the city’s historical associations, the Newcastle & Suburban Co-operative Society’s World War I honour roll was officially unveiled at its new home at Fort Scratchley. It features the names of 20 men, employees of the Newcastle Co-op, who fought in the Great War.
And Fort Scratchley Historical Society president Frank Carter said researchers from the museum had already identified three men who had served at Fort Scratchley.
‘‘It’s got a definite presence here,’’ Mr Carter said. ‘‘We knew it existed but it had never been formally located. ‘‘When it surfaced we thought we would love to display it in the World War I room of our museum. To identify three people on it who served at the fort is an absolute bonus.
‘‘It’s another bit of Newcastle history. We don’t know what’s going to happen to The Store, but one way or another Newcastle has still got it and it’s in a far more dignified location than it was.’’
The memorial roll was unveiled at the Newcastle Co-op in 1916 and is believed to have once hung in a prominent location at the building. But over the last few years the large marble slab was moved into a store room or office area.
"We would much rather it ended up on display at Fort Scratchley than finishing in a dump."Newcastle Family History Society's Ken Shilling
That was where Ken Shilling, from the Newcastle Family History Society, and his wife Maree found it about 12 months ago. The pair have embarked on a research project to locate about 90 of the city’s missing memorials and research some of the soldiers listed. But once the site, now known as The Store, went up for sale in July, Mr Shilling contacted Fort Scratchley Historical Society curator Ron Barber to let him know. ‘‘We felt the honour roll might be lost,’’ Mr Shilling said. ‘‘We would much rather it ended up on display at Fort Scratchley than finishing in a dump.’’
Mr Barber contacted Colliers International, the building’s selling agents, who searched the site for the memorial roll before locating it in a toilet in an empty section of the building, Mr Carter said.
Mr and Mrs Shilling use Trove to trawl through old Newcastle Herald articles and locate news stories about the unveiling of war memorials. There are many still outstanding, including the Newcastle Technical College’s honour roll.