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The Celtic Cross which was erected by public subscription commemorates Sir Walter Edward Davidson (1859 - 1923), a former governor of New South Wales.

In September 1917 Davidson was recommended and appointed  the next Governor of New South Wales, and arrived in Sydney, New South Wales on 17 February 1918. Despite a reduction by Premier William Holman in the Governor's allocated funds, the Davidsons entered enthusiastically into the round of vice-regal duties. For her work with the Red Cross Society, both in Newfoundland and New South Wales, Lady Davidson was appointed as a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1918, and in August 1920 presided at a meeting to inaugurate the State branch of the Girl Guides' Association. As Governor, he was made a Knight of Grace of the Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem (KStJ) on 25 October 1916 and a member of the Savile Club, London.

While still in office, Davidson died of cardiovascular disease at Government House, Sydney on 16 September 1923.

A public memorial to the late Sir Walter Davidson has been erected in the South Head Cemetery, under the supervision of the Institute of Architects, to a design by the late Mr. H. C. Day, which was approved by Dame Margaret Davidson. As will be seen by the photograph of the model appearing in another column, the memorial in its main characteristics follows the design of the world-famous Celtic Cross in the historic burial ground of Clonmacnoise, Ireland. It has not the elaborate carving of the original cross, but the reason for that is that the cost would have exceeded £2500, and Dame Margaret Davidson expressed the view that the spending of so much money would be out of harmony with the simple tastes of her husband. The monument will be unveiled on Wednnesday afternoon at 3.30 o'clock by the Governor, Sir Dudley de Chair, and addresses will be delivered by the Premier (Mr. Lang) and the Lord Mayor, as chairman of the memorial committee.

The inscription on the monument reads as follows:—"This Cross was erected by the people of New South Wales in grateful memory to Sir Walter Edward Davidson, K.C.M.G., born 1859, County Down, Ireland, died at Government House, Sydney, 16th September, 1923, whilst Governor of this State, Governor of Seychelles Islands, 1904-1912; Newfoundland, 1913-17; New South Wales, 1917-23 , Knight of Grace of St. John of Jerusalem. He walked worthy of the vocation to which he was called." No private invitations have been issued by the memorial committee to the unveiling ceremony owing to the fact that the monument has been erected by public subscriptions collected from all parts of New South Wales. The unveiling ceremony will be open to the general public.
Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), 21 November 1925. 


Address:Old South Head Road, South Head Cemetery, Vaucluse, 2030
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.858067
Long: 151.281411
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Cross
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Government - State


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Wednesday 25th November, 1925
Front Inscription

This cross was erected by the people of New South Wales

In grateful memory of Sir Walter Edward Davidson, K.C.M.G.,

Born 1859, County Down, Ireland,

Died at Government House, Sydney, 16th September, 1923, whilst Governor of this State.

Governor of Seychelles Islands, 1904-1912; Newfoundland, 1913-17; New South Wales,1917-23 ,

Knight of Grace of St. John of Jerusalem.

He walked worthy of the vocation to which he was called.

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