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AHS helps to conserve the Mount Morgan Coronation Lamp and Boer War Memorial


The Mount Morgan Coronation Lamp and Boer War Memorial is an intriguing site that simultaneously expresses the British Empire’s global reach and the local impact of soldiers’ deaths within their own community.

The Queensland Heritage Register listed monument is looked after by Rockhampton Regional Council, which commissioned AHS to prepare a Conservation Management Plan to provide heritage advice regarding the ongoing maintenance and conservation of the site.

The Coronation Lamp and Boer War Memorial is one of several State heritage listed sites within Mount Morgan including Mount Morgan Railway Station Complex, Mount Morgan State High School, the former Commonwealth Bank, the School of Arts Hall and Library, the former Queensland National Hotel, and the Grand Hotel.

The British Empire’s global reach

Mount Morgan was originally part of the Calliungal pastoral station where gold was discovered by stockman William Mackinlay in 1881. By the late 1880s it had become one of the world’s richest gold deposits and the population had soared to 5,836 people.

The township boomed as the mine’s enormous wealth was realised. Mount Morgan’s state school was founded in 1884 followed by a mail service, churches, a hospital, a branch of the Queensland National Bank and a railway line which opened in June 1898.

As the local community dealt with the challenges created by this rapid growth, tensions elsewhere in the British Empire were leading to armed conflict. On the southern tip of Africa, British colonists and independent republics of Dutch-Afrikaner settlers, known as Boers, fought wars against one another from 1881-1882, and again in 1899-1902.

View of Morgan Street from the East, circa 1910.

Queensland was one of the British colonies to offer troops for the second Boer War. Approximately 20,000 Australian troops served and around 1,000 died from wounds or disease including Private Victor Stanley Jones, the first Australian killed during the conflict. He had lived and worked in Mount Morgan as a Paymaster with the Mount Morgan Gold Mine before enlisting.

The second Boer War ended with the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging in May 1902. A few months later King Edward VII was crowned at London’s Westminster Abbey following the death of Queen Victoria.


Erected on 26 June 1902

The Coronation Lamp and Boer War Memorial was commissioned by the Municipal Council and was probably designed by Arthur Jenkins of Rockhampton, who was the Clerk of Works for construction of Mount Morgan’s Technical College.

The monument was erected at the corner of Morgan and East Streets on 26 June 1902, however it was still unfinished in April 1903 as the marble tablets had not been inlayed. The mayor complained of spelling errors on the inscriptions, but the mason had not been paid and did not reply to correspondence.

This issue may never have been resolved as the current inscription for the coronation memorial tablet appears to have a spelling error in the heading, which reads ‘Erectcb’ rather than ‘Erected’.

It is also unknown if there were originally more than two inscribed marble tablets lining the pedestal. A report in the Morning Bulletin from 1933 suggests the names of fallen soldiers were included on the memorial, while another story published in 1944 implies that only one side was left empty.

ANZAC Day gathering at the Coronation Lamp and Boer War Memorial, 1916.

By 1916 the original lamp’s single lantern with decorative canopy and finial had been replaced by new double corner lanterns. In 1947 the monument was moved to ANZAC Park – it is common for similar commemorative streetlamps to have been relocated from road intersections in Australian towns due to traffic safety concerns.


A significant Mount Morgan landmark since 1902

The Mount Morgan Coronation Lamp and Boer War Memorial was erected at a time when war memorials were uncommon in Queensland and it is currently one of only a few Boer War memorials anywhere in Australia. It is the only such memorial to commemorate both the Boer War and the coronation of King Edward VII.

Although streetlamps were common memorials during the Victorian and early Edwardian periods, this is the only known coronation streetlamp memorial in Queensland.

While it is possible that the base originally featured three inscribed marble tablets, only those for the Boer War and coronation remain today. The tablet listing the soldiers’ names appears to have been lost.

The monument retains a fair level of integrity, with the pedestal and lamp post remaining largely intact since their original construction. However, the topmost portion of the lamp post has undergone numerous changes with the addition of fluorescent lighting fixtures and even parts of a car exhaust pipe.

We hope that in future these unsuitable elements can be replaced with contemporary electric lighting fixtures that are sympathetic to the monument’s original fabric and design.

To discover how we may be able to assist on your next project, contact us today here or phone (07) 3221 0000. You can also connect with us on LinkedIn.

Composite image of the Coronation Lamp and Boer War Memorial showing periodic changes to the lights.

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The Challenge

Mount Morgan was originally part of the Calliungal pastoral station where gold was discovered by stockman William Mackinlay in 1881. By the late 1880s it had become one of the world’s richest gold deposits and the population had soared to 5,836 people.

The township boomed as the mine’s enormous wealth was realised. Mount Morgan’s state school was founded in 1884 followed by a mail service, churches, a hospital, a branch of the Queensland National Bank and a railway line which opened in June 1898.

As the local community dealt with the challenges created by this rapid growth, tensions elsewhere in the British Empire were leading to armed conflict. On the southern tip of Africa, British colonists and independent republics of Dutch-Afrikaner settlers, known as Boers, fought wars against one another from 1881-1882, and again in 1899-1902.

View of Morgan Street from the East, circa 1910.

Queensland was one of the British colonies to offer troops for the second Boer War. Approximately 20,000 Australian troops served and around 1,000 died from wounds or disease including Private Victor Stanley Jones, the first Australian killed during the conflict. He had lived and worked in Mount Morgan as a Paymaster with the Mount Morgan Gold Mine before enlisting.

The second Boer War ended with the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging in May 1902. A few months later King Edward VII was crowned at London’s Westminster Abbey following the death of Queen Victoria.



How we helped

The Coronation Lamp and Boer War Memorial was commissioned by the Municipal Council and was probably designed by Arthur Jenkins of Rockhampton, who was the Clerk of Works for construction of Mount Morgan’s Technical College.

The monument was erected at the corner of Morgan and East Streets on 26 June 1902, however it was still unfinished in April 1903 as the marble tablets had not been inlayed. The mayor complained of spelling errors on the inscriptions, but the mason had not been paid and did not reply to correspondence.

This issue may never have been resolved as the current inscription for the coronation memorial tablet appears to have a spelling error in the heading, which reads ‘Erectcb’ rather than ‘Erected’.

It is also unknown if there were originally more than two inscribed marble tablets lining the pedestal. A report in the Morning Bulletin from 1933 suggests the names of fallen soldiers were included on the memorial, while another story published in 1944 implies that only one side was left empty.

ANZAC Day gathering at the Coronation Lamp and Boer War Memorial, 1916.

By 1916 the original lamp’s single lantern with decorative canopy and finial had been replaced by new double corner lanterns. In 1947 the monument was moved to ANZAC Park – it is common for similar commemorative streetlamps to have been relocated from road intersections in Australian towns due to traffic safety concerns.

Results

The Mount Morgan Coronation Lamp and Boer War Memorial was erected at a time when war memorials were uncommon in Queensland and it is currently one of only a few Boer War memorials anywhere in Australia. It is the only such memorial to commemorate both the Boer War and the coronation of King Edward VII.

Although streetlamps were common memorials during the Victorian and early Edwardian periods, this is the only known coronation streetlamp memorial in Queensland.

While it is possible that the base originally featured three inscribed marble tablets, only those for the Boer War and coronation remain today. The tablet listing the soldiers’ names appears to have been lost.

The monument retains a fair level of integrity, with the pedestal and lamp post remaining largely intact since their original construction. However, the topmost portion of the lamp post has undergone numerous changes with the addition of fluorescent lighting fixtures and even parts of a car exhaust pipe.

We hope that in future these unsuitable elements can be replaced with contemporary electric lighting fixtures that are sympathetic to the monument’s original fabric and design.

To discover how we may be able to assist on your next project, contact us today here or phone (07) 3221 0000. You can also connect with us on LinkedIn.

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Extensive war history unearthed at Milman Hill Complex on Thursday Island

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AHS ensures cultural preservation of the Mt Coot-tha Kiosk and Lookout, unearthing a rich history at one of Brisbane’s premiere vantage points

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AHS helps to record and conserve Bega’s network of historic granite kerbs and gutters for our client Bega Valley Shire Council

Case Study

AHS delivered a Conservation Management Plan for the State heritage listed former Cairns Masonic Temple

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Delivering heritage services including an Archival Recording at the Coffs Harbour Forestry Building

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Conserving Willard’s Farm, one of the oldest surviving farms and residences within the Redlands on Brisbane’s Bayside

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AHS projects with Cairns Regional Council include a CMP for Mulgrave Shire Council Chambers

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Discovering the evolution of Queensland ambulance services at Charters Towers

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