Gunnedah’s involvement in the First World War was reflective on the great patriotism and enthusiasm that the town had toward assisting Great Britain in its fight against Germany. Harley McDonagh and George Pawley were some of the servicemen in the local community to put their hand up and answer the call in 1915.
As the sculpture suggests it doesn’t matter who you were prior to enlistment, you are all equal when facing gunfire. The jackeroo and the labourer and the country squire all got the same mud on their uniform and they all bled the same colour red, with each relying on their mate to help them make it through the day.
It didn’t matter to George and to Harley that they each came from different parts of society – their friendship was legendary from before the war, until they died, and then on through the stories told by their descendents.
Certainly legendary enough for a young sculptor sharing the Pawley surname to continue the stories through pewter – stories that I will continue to tell in order to honour both these servicemen who ultimately gave their lives for king and country.
Australian War Memorial – A03554, E00532, G01532, EZ0048, E03137, C02588, C01915.
No Body 01 0 (12297910843_0d7335e248_o.jpg) flickr.com/photos/state_library_south_australia/12297910843
Ste. Marie Cemetery, Le Havre.
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