The wreckage of remembrance: brakpan

It is important to note the use of lower case in the title of this post because frankly brakpan does not deserve the use of upper case. On 19 November I was in the brakpan area to photograph the derelict Anzac Rand Revolt Memorial,  I had plotted my course to pass the “Garden of Remembrance”  at Google Earth co-ordinates -26.228904°,  28.361723°. When I arrived at the spot I was really expecting something great, but was sadly disappointed by what I saw. 

At some point in time this may have been a really nice park, with large palm trees, possibly a fountain and terraces with green. Instead it was an abandoned travesty of a park, with uncut grass, an empty fountain, litter, and a war memorial that had been vandalised and neglected for a long time.

The “memorial”, or should I say, “what was left of the memorial”,  may be seen in front of the furtherest lamp standard in the image above. 

It is even worse up close. The inscription has had the brass lettering stolen and I was able to piece part of it together by sheer luck.

Those words come from  poem “God’s Garden” by Dorothy Frances Gurney.

n August 2008 I was informed that the name plaque which was on the memorial had been removed. At the time I suspected that it had been stolen, but fortunately I did have images of it so the names were known. On 13 November 2011, I was contacted by Joe Borain who explained that the name plaque had been removed from the derelict memorial and a new Wall of Remembrance was erected at the Cosy Corner Moth Shellhole in Brenthurst, Brakpan, and the plaque had been installed there. I visited the Shellhole to view the new  wall in December 2011 and was able to photograph the newly built wall at the Shellhole.

The restored Roll of Honour at Cosy Corner Shellhole

The restored Roll of Honour at Cosy Corner Shellhole

Fortunately somebody had realised that the Roll of Honour would serve no purpose at its old location and at least now it is safe and is used as a centre for commemoration. 

As for the “Garden of Remembrance”, 2016 Google Street View images reveal that it is pretty much the same as when I saw it in 2007. The shell of the memorial is still there, and I expect will eventually end up falling down or being stolen. Somehow I doubt whether anybody in the brakpan council really cares. They never do.

DRW © 2007-2021. Retrospectively created 23/07/2016. 

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