Germiston and Districts War Memorial

Update 02/01/2021.

When I moved this article to Musings I went looking to see what the situation was with the memorial and Google Earth images only went up to 2017 and they showed extensive building going on in that block but I could not get a clear image of the memorial for here. Unfortunately the street view image does not show the situation as at 2020, but the aerial view does show that the building work has ended and the area seems to have been rehabilitated. More searching showed images of the completed theatre and the memorial in its original position. Unfortunately they are not large enough to see what the situation is with the missing plaques. One sentence was heartening: “….The square in front of the theatre contains a Commonwealth Great War Memorial that has also been vandalised over time but which was cleaned and renovated in accordance with the heritage assessment.” 

End update.

I spotted the Germiston and Districts War Memorial purely by accident after taking a wrong turn on my way home on 14 November 2009. The Memorial is on the corner of Odendaal and President Strs. Germiston, in front of the former Carnegie Library. Sadly though it had been desecrated and defaced and was used as a drinking spot as well as a posterboard for abortions. Ironically, Remembrance Day was only a few days before, and it was doubtful whether any remembering was done in Germiston that year, or for a few years before or afterwards.

In 2013 I received reports that the plaques had been removed from the memorial and nobody knew who or why they had been removed, the area was also fenced and my instinct said that some sort of development was going to happen but nobody could inform me what it was or whether the plaques were in storage. I feared the worst. Unfortunately the war memorials on the East Rand and a travesty of remembrance, and it seemed as if yet another extinct memorial was in the offing.

However, an interesting article appeared on the Heritage Portal which leads me to believe that there may be hope at the end of the tunnel for the derelict Carnegie Library and the memorial. In the article it confirms that the plaques were stolen in 2013. The Memorial will be restored as part of the project with replica plaques and “…commemoration of the African contribution to the war effort of the First World War be added to the extant memorial.” Work on the new theatre as due to commence in November 2014, and as can be seen in streetview images was ongoing in 2017.  

The derelict former Carnegie Library

Update: As at 29/10/2015 the link to the Heritage Portal article redirects to a front page only and no longer to the article. The article has been moved to the following location:  http://www.theheritageportal.co.za/article/rebirth-germiston-carnegie-library

DRW © 2009-2021. Created 14/11/2009. Replaced image 07/11/2011, updated 09/07/2013. Added to blog 13/10/2014, moved to Musings 02/01/2021

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