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NSW grant announced for Eurongilly war memorial facelift

Edwina Mason18 February 2020
Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke

Left to right: Elissa Drew, Braiden Philipps, Fiona Rankin, NSW Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke, Junee Shire Council general manager James Davis, Bruce Macleod, Junee Mayor Neil Smith at Friday’s funding announcement. Photo: Supplied.

Eurongilly might be a settlement tiny in numbers but at its heart it carries recognition of huge local sacrifice on its war memorial.

In the beginning it was a pair of white wrought iron gates with four brick pillars that the parents of RJ (Jack) Cooper chose to memorialise their 22-year-old son, killed during World War Two.

The gates served as the entry point to the park also named in the honour of the young man who, as war loomed in 1939, enlisted with the Royal Air Force and learned how to fly.

It was a brisk apprenticeship. Training consisted of operations over occupied Germany and France and by 1940 Jack was piloting missions over the Libyan coastline in a Wellington bomber. He was known for his courage, calm determination and energy.

That ended in November 1941 when his plane went missing over Derna, North Africa.

Jack Cooper was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross “in recognition of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy in the air”.

The simple gate that bears his name is now flanked by the names of 34 other locals who also served during World War Two and four in Vietnam etched on the brick pillars.

So the news on Friday of a $3080 facelift for this place of remembrance has been enthusiastically received by the community and Junee Council.

State government funds will see the gates powder-coated, pillars restored and the cleaning and restoration of the plaques.

NSW Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke visited Eurongilly to announce the funding.

“The beautiful gates of the Eurongilly War Memorial commemorate the sacrifice of RJ Cooper, DFC, who lost his life in the Second World War,” she said.

“His story is just one of tens from this tiny community that deserves to be commemorated for generations to come.

“War memorials are places of remembrance that help us to understand our history. It is important that we keep them in good condition through careful repair and maintenance.”

What's Your Opinion?

One Response to NSW grant announced for Eurongilly war memorial facelift

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Robert Crick Robert Crick 5:33 pm 25 Nov 21

Why was there no representation by a family member of Jack Cooper. There are such members in Junee and Bethungra. More on Jack can be found at
http://www.motorcyclemeanders.com/r_j_cooper.html

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