Polish ex-servicemen memorial cairn
Polish ex- servicemen memorial cairn Trevallyn 2014 by Clifton Townsend
Glenis and I were bushwalking in the Trevallyn Park near Launceston when we came across a large rock cairn with a plaque and etched stones. Cairns attract surveyors like ducks to water as they are part of our culture going back to the first landing. I was intrigued by this large cairn and wanted to find out its history.
Some of the stones etched; named some of the places I once worked for the HEC - Gowrie Park, Strathgordon and Tullah. This memorial cairn is located at the recreational park, Reatta Road Trevallyn Dam Launceston. Designed by Dick Frelek and dedicated in 1986.
Front inscription – Erected to commemorate the contribution made by the Polish ex-servicemen working on these projects 1947 – 1985.
The cairn commemorates Polish ex-servicemen who migrated to Australia and worked on the Hydro Electric Commission HEC projects. (The following notes by M.A Rumt are sourced from the Internet for this story)
After Poland was invaded by Germany, thousands of Poles joined the Polish government in exile in Britain. From there they were sent to serve in the Middle East with the British army.
In August – September 1941, the Polish Carputhian Brigade relieved Australia infantry Brigade in Tobruk. The first Polish ex-servicemen, 280 men in uniform, to arrive in Tasmania to work for the HEC, were sponsored by the Rats of Tobruk association, and participated in HEC projects between 1947 and 1985. Over the years about 2000 Poles worked for the HEC. In 1947 a quarter of the workforce were Poles.
I worked closely with one of the Polish Carputhian Brigade ex-service men Stan Nasiukiewicz a Senior Supervisor working on the Gordon River Underground Power Station with a team of very skilled carpenters. As a surveyor I was constantly required to set out lines and levels for Stan and his team. I checked the work done by Stan and his team many times and could not find any errors. I remember his team of carpenters were very precise in every thing they did. His wife Cora and other ladies serviced my room daily at the Chalet in Strathgordon. Stan and Cora’s life story can be read in the Hydro Ticklebelly Tales book by author Heather Felton.