For nearly 50 years the Karuah RSL Club has honoured the large number of service men and women who have served and fought to maintain the freedoms that all Australians enjoy today, so it was with great excitement that the Sub-Branch was able to unveil a new monument to all soldiers past and present.
As part of the club's $2.3 million renovations completed earlier this year, the profile of the World War I digger made from rusty-coloured steel metal has been erected at the club's focal point, located adjacent to the town's only traffic lights on the Pacific Highway.
Karuah RSL CEO Ross Parr, the brainchild behind the monument, said the monument was a fitting tribute to all Australian service men and women and a beacon for the wider Karuah community.
"The monument depicting a soldier holding a rifle under the setting sun and the 'Lest We forget' sign has been received very well from club members, RSL Sub-Branch members and the passers-by," Mr Parr said.
"We are very proud of it and it looks sensational when lit up at night."
RSL Sub-Branch president Peter Fidden was equally impressed with the tribute recognising Australian soldiers.
"It's a wonderful feature of the club and something we can all be proud of," he said.
- RELATED READING: Karuah RSL Club earmarked for a $6 million' modernisation'
Mr Fidden said that the Memorial Wall at the entrance to the club was still under construction and was expected to be completed soon.
"We have just been given permission to install our three crests (Army, Navy and Air Force)."
The wall also features the names of all past member of the RSL Sub-Branch.
Mr Parr said that the newly renovated club had been impacted by the COVID-19 shutdown, but had recovered well since it reopened earlier this month.
"We have a new function room, main lounge and cafe plus alfresco area. Fortunately, the vast majority of our staff were eligible for the JobKeeper payment and it's great to see so many familiar faces back enjoying the facilities."
Often referred to as the "heartbeat of the community", Karuah RSL has continued to play an integral role in supporting charitable and not-for-profit organisations, as well as being a centre for disaster relief and the coming together of residents.
The building has been instrumental in providing a safe haven during floods or bushfires, hosting community meetings and caring for its people in a time before social media and when public places were key to disseminating information.
Mr Parr said that new work had also commenced on refurbishing the club building roof, which was had been in a poor state and in need of repair.