Greater Hume councillor moves to quell backlash over dropping war memorial title of Henty and Holbrook pools

Swimming hole: Greater Hume council has generated a public backlash over its decision to drop the words 'war memorial' from Henty (pictured above) and Holbrook aquatic centres.
Swimming hole: Greater Hume council has generated a public backlash over its decision to drop the words 'war memorial' from Henty (pictured above) and Holbrook aquatic centres.

SOLDIERS could again be saluted through Henty’s and Holbrook’s swimming pools with a motion to restore ‘war memorial’ to their names to be debated by Greater Hume Council next week.

The dropping of ‘war memorial’ by the council last month prompted a public backlash with 58 letters of objection sent to the shire and an online petition, opposing the move, drawing 334 signatories.

Councillor Annette Schilg has lodged a rescission motion to refer to the sites “in new signage as the Henty War Memorial Swimming Pool and the Holbrook War Memorial Swimming Pool”.

The Walbundrie representative said she regretted having supported the name change on the night of the meeting.

“I knew in my heart I had made the wrong decision,” Cr Schilg said.

“My family have been involved in the armed services and I have great respect for that history and background and it didn’t sit right that night and the next day and I thought I’ve got to do something to switch it back.

“I know I’ve stuffed up and I should never have gone ahead with it.”

Annette Schilg

Annette Schilg

Cr Schilg will not be at Wednesday’s meeting at Culcairn due to commitments in Queensland, but colleague Doug Meyer will read a statement on her behalf.

Cr Meyer was the only councillor to speak against changing the names at last month’s meeting after the move was proposed by the shire’s environment and planning director Colin Kane.

The manager told the councillors that in the wake of major renovations at both centres “the word ‘memorial’ in the name of the pools may not be necessary or appropriate”.

Cr Schilg’s rescission motion also calls for signage noting the post World War II pools’ original “dedication as a war memorial” and urges consultation with RSL sub-branches over those signs’ content and creation.

“I sincerely hope (the names are) restored but there’s some (councillors) I can’t speak for,” she said. 

“I don’t know which way they will go, it will be sad if it still goes ahead, but at least I’ve done what I can to change it.”