Wellington’s Winged Victory statue at the Wellington War Memorial is about to receive a much needed renewal thanks to a partnership between Dubbo Regional Council (DRC) and the Australian Government. The “Winged Victory” Memorial, a Cenotaph, commemorates the people from Wellington, NSW, who died in conflicts from World War I onwards. The memorial was designed by Gilbert Doble in 1928, and unveiled in 1933, has experienced significant deterioration over the decades.
Mayor of the Dubbo Region, Councillor Ben Shields said this has been on the agenda for some time. “In April 2019 councillors voted to seek external funding to repair this impressive and very significant statue that sits atop Wellington’s War Memorial. I’d like to thank the Australian Government for their collaboration in repairing this beautiful piece of history for the community,” said Councillor Shields.
The sculptural component of Wellington’s Winged Victory is comprised of three connected metal figures. In the centre is a seated winged figure of a Victory, a sword previously rested in her open hands on her lap. On either side of Victory are two female figures both seated and slightly lower than Victory. On the proper left is a figure with its head tilted downwards towards a book. To the proper right an armoured female figure sits looking outwards, with a helmet on and a palm branch in her hand.
As part of the original 1920 design, the figures were identified Victory, History and Fame. By the time of installation in 1933 these identifications were no longer used and more descriptive terminology is used to identify the figures, such as: “a martial figure, symbolising the spirit in which Australia entered into the war” and a representation of “history recording in a book the deeds of those who saw service” or “a figure of History, who has inscribed in the book of fame resting upon her knees the heroic deeds of Australia’s bravest and best.” And “a figure typifying courage and fortitude; the spirit of the women of Australia; the Spartan mothers who saw their sons go forth to war and return, some with their shield and some upon them.”
The significant task of repairing the memorial is being co-funded by DRC and $40,000 from the Australian Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure fund.
Member for Calare, Andrew Gee said he was extremely pleased to see the money being spent on such a unique and special project that has an extremely high-level of significance to the Wellington community.
“Winged Victory has a special place in the hearts of the local community. She and the Cenotaph are an ever-present reminder that we must never forget the men and women who served and sacrificed so much for Australia. It’s vital that we keep investing in the restoration and maintenance of our memorials so that future generations continue to honour their memory and service too.
“This work is a significant partnership between the Australian Government, Dubbo Regional Council and the local community and I’m looking forward to seeing it progress,” said Andrew Gee MP
DRC’s Director for Liveability, Ms Skye Price said the statue is in quite a bad state. “Alarmingly our marvellous Winged Victory monument is showing signs of significant structural wear, tear and weathering. It is very important that this be addressed, before any irreparable damage occurs. Unfortunately this unique sculptural installation is deteriorating due to age, exposure to the elements, and vandalism. The sculpture is a significant part of Wellington’s history and we intend to do all that we can to preserve it.”
After careful consideration and following an open quotation process, specialist company O’Sullivan’s Conservation has been engaged to undertake the restoration works.
The work to restore Winged Victory back to her former glory will commence the week commencing 15 March 2021 with the goal of being complete by ANZAC Day, 25 April 2021. The contractors will establish a secure compound around the cenotaph for the duration of the project.