Ainslie Primary School MemorialPrint Page Print this page

The Memorial is a statuette of a soldier in battle gear on a carved teak pedestal. There is a time capsule inside the pedestal behind the plaque. It was unveiled at the Anzac Day ceremony at the school on the 24th Appril 1939. 

The figure of an Australian "Digger," in full war kit, was unveiled at Ainslie Public School yesterday by a past-president of the North Canberra Branch of the R.S. and S.I.L.A. (Mr. A. J. Hanley) during the Anzac Day ceremony. Executed in bronze from the original sculpture by the late C. Web. Gilbert, of Melbourne, the statuette stands on a plinth of teak taken from the deck of the H.M.A.S. Sydney, thus symbolising the association of the Navy and the Army in the Great War.

The plinth bears the inscription, "When occasion comes for word or deed we will remember them. Presented to the Ainslie Public School by members of the North Canberra Sub-Branch of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers' Imperial League of Australia; 25th April (Anzac Day), 1939."
Canberra Times (ACT), 25 April 1939.

Two hundred small voices cheered with relief when a brass plaque was levered away from the base of an old foot soldier's statuette in Ainslie Public School's entrance hall yesterday. 

Under the plaque was a niche that had been crammed with the goodies of the militaristic days of 38 years ago. Until yesterday, no one was sure, but it was suspected that some sort of time capsule had been hidden in the statuette's pedestal. So when the school's principal, Mrs Maureen Ewer, said there would be a search, the entrance hall was suddenly filled with hopeful children.  At first there were sighs of despair from the children when the teak pedestal (built from the timbers of the HMAS Sydney) was turned over to check its hollow base. There was only a pile of dust underneath. Then the little plaque was levered away, revealing several neatly-folded relics — bringing a loud cheer from the audience of children. First to come out of the niche was a tiny Union Jack painted on to a scrap of silk. It had been "posted from the trenches on Gallipoli by an ANZAC soldier on September 29, 1915, with a comment: "Keeping the flag flying".

The people who donated the statuette in 1939, all members of the local RSL (then called the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia), had enclosed a typewritten message about their links with the Ainslie school. The message also praised the "fine architectural lines of this building; its symetrical propor tions; its adequate ventilation and ample natural light combined with the modern features of school equipment make it an eminently suitable place for educational purposes". It also had a bit to say about patriotism, which was a topical subject in 1939. Of course, the relics included a newspaper clipping — of The Canberra Times of April 25,1939. The clipping included a page two article on the gift to the school of its little bronze ANZAC statuette.  The Canberra Times clipping said the statuette was modelled on an original sculpture by the late C. Web. Gilbert of Melbourne. Another piece of paper found in the niche was a list of members of the RS and SILA members who donated the statuette to the school.
The Canberra Times (ACT), 25th June 1977.


Address:Donaldson Street, Foyer of Ainslie Primary School, Braddon, 2612
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.273733
Long: 149.139769
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Conflict


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Tuesday 25th April, 1939
Front Inscription

"When occasion comes for word or deed we will remember them"

Presented to the Ainslie Public School by members of the North Canberra Sub-Branch, Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia

25th April (ANZAC Day) 1939


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