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Photographs supplied by Kent Watson

The large bronze statue "Cobbers" features a soldier from western Victoria carrying a fallen comrade from the field and is a memorial to Australian service and sacrifice at the Battle of Fromelles during World War One. The hero carrying his wounded colleague was Sergeant Simon Fraser who risking his life and a possible court martial, returned to save a stricken soldier whose identity is unknown.

Proposed by the Friends of the 15th Brigade, this cast of the original - which is located in France - has been reproduced for installation in the Shrine Reserve with the kind permission of the Australian War Graves Commission and jointly funded by the State of Victoria and the Tattersall’s George Adams Foundation.

The Battle of Fromelles was the first action on the Western Front and proved disastrous. It is regarded as the worst 24 hours in Australian military history. Of these over 5,500 Australian casualties, there were 500 prisoners of war and almost 2,000 dead. In one night at Fromelles the Australian casualties were equivalent to those in the Boer, Korean and Vietnam Wars, combined.


Address:Birdwood Avenue, Shrine Reserve, Melbourne, 3000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.83228
Long: 144.972523
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:Conflict
Actual Event Start Date:19-July-1916
Actual Event End Date:20-July-1916
Artist:Peter Corlett (Melbourne, VIC)
Monument Manufacturer:Meridian Sculpture Founders (Fitzroy, VIC)


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 19th July, 2008
Right Side Inscription


In memory of those who fought and fell in the Battle of Fromelles

19 - 20 July 1916

Fromelles, a small village in Northern France, took on eternal significance for Australia when it became the site of the first major battle fought by Australia on the Western Front during the First World War (1914 - 18).  The ill-conceived operation, in the relatively inactive Fromelles sector, was intended to deter the Germans from transferring men from there to the Somme, where a substantial Allied offensive had been launched on 1 July 1916.  The battle of Fromelles began in the late afternoon of 19 July 1916, when the 5th Australian Divsion and 61st British Division advanced towards the German troops. 

A preparatory bombardment had not succeeded in quelling the German defences, and the attackers, particularly the Victorian 15th Brigade, encountered a hail of machine-gun fire.  Later that night a renewed assault foundered and casualties climbed even higher when the Australians moved forward and a pre-arranged, simultaneous British advance failed to eventuate.  All involved were ultimately withdrawn to their pre-attack positions.

When the fighting ceased the German soldiers remained in position having established early that the attack was diversionary.  Devastating casualties had mounted to 5,533 Australians (including 400 prisoners) and 1,547 British.  In the days following the battle rescuers recovered some 300 wounded from no-man`s land.  As one soldier carried a wounded companion from the field he heard a call for help.

Don't forget me, cobber

The 5th Australian Division was crippled and unavailable for major action for months. In one night at Fromelles the Australian casualties were equivalent to those in the Boer, Korean and Vietnam Wars combined.  


Sculptor.  Peter Corlett
Bronze cast by Meridian Sculpture
Founder 2008

Cobbers, the memorial to Australian service and sacrifices at the Battle of Fromelles 19 July 1916, was installed in the Australian Memorial Park at Fromelles, France in 1998.  The memorial was commissioned by the Office of Australian War Graves.   

The second cast has been made possible by the Friends of the 15th Brigade Association and Trustees of the Shrine of Remembrance.  Funding for the second cast was provided by the Victorian State Government and Tattersall`s George Adams Foundation.  Cobbers was unveiled in the Shrine Reserve on 19 July 2008.


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au