Historic Dorrigo war memorial wrecked in car crash

FOR NIGH on a century, a statue of a lone soldier in the heart of Dorrigo has watched over the town - until last night when it was felled in a car accident.

An SUV struck the cenotaph which sits in the middle of the main street - causing considerable damage, with the soldier coming to rest on the roof of the vehicle.

The driver is understood to have sustained minor injuries, and was taken by ambulance to hospital, while police, firefighters and council staff also attended.

The incident distressed local residents, but the Dorrigo RSL sub-branch is resolute that the cenotaph can be restored in time for ANZAC Day commemorations in 2022 - the centenary of its installment.

The cenotaph at the intersection with Hickory St features a lone Great War ANZAC Digger, replete with slouch hat and .303 rifle, while the memorial includes the names of locals who paid the ultimate sacrifice in WWI and II, and the Korean War.

Despite the force of the impact, it's understood the statue of the soldier lost only a piece of his hat. A tow truck from the Coffs Coast was dispatched to the scene and transported the statue to the local council depot, until assessment can be made by Australian Stonemasons.

The cenotaph as it once was, and will be again one day. Photo: Vivian Hoskins

The cenotaph as it once was, and will be again one day. Photo: Vivian Hoskins

Ironically, work constructing a controversial roundabout encircling the memorial had just got underway by Roads and Maritime Services.

Last night's crash was not the first time the landmark cenotaph has been in the wars.

Some years ago, the rifle was taken, before finding its way back - while trucks travelling Waterfall Way have also clipped the spotlights near the base of the structure.

Sub-branch secretary Bob Denner said "we will definitely rebuild the monument in time for the centenary."

Vivian Hoskins, also from the sub-branch, was among the many residents who were at the scene.

"There are two largish spot lights at the base of the monument, one on either side. The driver has managed to park his vehicle neatly between the two. Neither is damaged and both remain burning into a cold night sky and pointing at ... well, nothing," Vivian said.

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