Australian Volunteer Defence ForcePrint Page Print this page

The memorial honours members of the Volunteer Defence Force (VDC) who served in World War Two. The memorial was originally unveiled on the 7 March 2003 and restored in 2019. 

The VDC was established in 1940 by the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia, later to become the RSL, and was modelled on the British Home Guard. At first the corps was largely made up of World War One veterans, but had members between the ages of 18 and 60, many of the younger men being in reserved occupations. At its peak, the VDC had almost 100,000 members and assisted in ensuring Australia was prepared in case of invasion by enemy forces.”

In Nelligen, the VDC was responsible for two tunnels under the King’s Highway, that were filled with explosives. They manned the tunnels from 1942-1944 and were instructed to blow up the road if a Japanese invasion party landed at Batemans Bay and attempted to capture Canberra via the inland road.

Recent grant funding of $880 received from the Federal Minister for Veterans Affairs under the Saluting Their Service Commemorative Grants Program has enabled this small but important local memorial plaque commemorating the Volunteer Defence Corps in Nelligen to be restored by the Nelligen Progress Association. The memorial was originally dedicated 7 March 2003 with support of the then Federal Government, and members of Batemans Bay and Braidwood Branches of the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL).
The Beagle (NSW) 8 February 2019. 


Address:Kings Highway , Outside Big4 Holiday Park , Nelligen, 2536
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.645794
Long: 150.134657
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Conflict
Approx. Event Start Date:1940
Approx. Event End Date:1945


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Friday 7th March, 2003
Front Inscription

The concept of the Volunteer Defence Force (VDC) was initially conceived by the then Returned Sailors Soldiers and Airmen`s Imperial League of Australia in 1937, their proposal being finally approved by the Commonwealth Government in June 1940 with final formation commencing in July 1940. Organisation was then effected by the League through their State Branches ans Sub Branches, Their Inspector -in -Chief was Generla Sir Harry Chauvel GCMG, KCB and Corps Commanders in various States were other high ranking soldiers of World War 1. In May 1941 the VDC became an integral part of the Australian Military Forces (AMF) its membership initially consisting of World War 1 Veterans, but the advent of Japan entering the War, younger men in reserve and protected occupations were enlisted. At its peak membership the VDC exceeded 98,000 and they played an active part in Australia`s Defence System, including the manning of aircraft and coastal defence guns plus the guarding of many key facilities. Here on the South Coast of NSW, the Kings Highway plus other roads inland North and South of this location were mined and members of the VDC were detailed for guard duty with the responsibilty of blowing up the roads in the event of a Japanese invasion. The Kings Highway was mined in two locations with associated shelters for the VDC guards, the only remaining shelter being the tunnel located at Pooh Bear`s corner. This obelisk has been placed here by the Batemans Bay and Braidwood Branches of the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL)
Source: MA, DVA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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