Kennington war memorial gets a facelift

Fresh paint: The Kennington Reserve War Memorial is having a facelift. Kennington Hall committee president Geoff Scott met with Invercargill City Council senior parks performance officer Shona Tomlins to see the progress on Tuesday. PHOTO: LAURA SMITH

A BEAUTIFICATION project is under way in Kennington, near Invercargill, to restore its near 100-year-old war memorial.

Invercargill City Council (ICC) last year received $680,000 from the Provincial Growth Fund for the restoration of seven war memorials; one of them being the Kennington Memorial Gates.

Unveiled in 1927, the memorial gates contain the names of 109 servicemen.

However, in that time, it had fallen into disrepair.

In a joint effort, ICC, local contractors and the Kennington Hall committee have been working to rejuvenate the area.

Committee president Geoff Scott said this included removing three eucalyptus trees and bushes, re-sowing a grass strip, painting and replacing the flagpole, the base of which had been unearthed during the work.

“People still come here on Anzac Day, without a service, to sit at the gates.”

Mr Scott said it was amazing to see the memorial gates looking freshened up.

“It’s brought a whole lot back to the Kennington community, a whole lot of interest.”

Anzac Day services would be re-instated next year, he said.

There had been plenty of positive comments, and only one person had inquired why the trees had been chopped down, he said.

ICC senior parks performance officer Shona Tomlins said the work at the gates was one of the smaller restoration projects.

“We’re very lucky to get the funding, we’re very excited about that.”

She said the idea was to use contractors rather than council staff so money would go into the local community following the impact of Covid-19.

Other restoration projects included Waikiwi Memorial Park, Myross Bush Memorial Gates, Rugby Park Footballers Memorial, Southland Cenotaph, Troopers Memorial and South Invercargill War Memorial.

Wood collected from the site would be sold at an auction to help boost the funding for community projects by the Kennington Hall committee.