Text and Images: Karen Agutter
Following the cessation of hostilities in Europe in 1918 thoughts turned to the establishment of memorials dedicated to those who had served in the Great War.
The Mt Lofty Uniting/Congregational Church determined that the erection of a Lych Gate, bearing the names of those men (and women) from the district who had served, was an appropriate memorial.
The Lych Gate was officially opened on Saturday 8th March 1919 where, according to The Register [12 March 1919] a large crowd witnessed the unveiling and heard a fine address given by Dr. S. L. Hawkins, who ‘spoke of the church’s great desire to fittingly commemorate the noble spirit of her sons’. Dr Hawkins read the names from the honour roll: A. Basey, D.C.M., M. Basey, M. Bilney, D. Bower, C. Chidlow, H. M. Cleland, T. Cheadle, W R. G. Coleman, M.C., C. Edmonds, J. Farrent. C. J. J Gilbert, A W Gordon, L M. Hodge, B. T. Kibble, F. Last, M. H. Macloy, L. Martin, K. L. Matheson, R. Matheson. S. Quinnell, F. A. Schantz, A. Smith, J. L. Smith, C. F. Snoswell, H. W. Wiedemann, and C Whibley. A final name, R. E. Disher was added later. Following the dedicatory prayer the crowd enjoyed afternoon tea.
According to Tom Dyster the Lych Gate became a well-known landmark ‘a symbol of Mt. Lofty’s identity’. With the closing of the church the Lych-gate was relocated to the Sunset Rock Church where it still stands today.
A Second plaque was later added above the original plaque, bearing the names: Nurse A Donnell, J H Mellor, W Stevenson, and S Rogers.
Further Reading: The Church with the Lych Gate, Tom Dyster
Do you have memories/photos of the Lych Gate or the men and women commemorated on the plaque? Contact us at email@example.com or drop into the History Centre at the Coventry Library, 63 Mount Barker Road, Stirling.