St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

The Park St George's Park - The Cenotaph
The Cenotaph

On November 10, 1929, Port Elizabeth's long awaited War Memorial, the Cenotaph, was unveiled by Mrs WF Savage and dedicated by Canon Mayo, with Mayor Jas Scott being in attendance.

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The unveiling of the Cenotaph memorial to the war dead of Port Elizabeth at St Georges Park November 10, 1929.

Mrs Henry Forbes, also a former Mayoress who had lost sons in the war, was to have shared the honour with Mrs Savage, but was prevented by illness from being present.

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The Cenotaph commemorates the men and women who were killed during the two World Wars.

The memorial was the work of James Gardner of the Art School and was erected by Pennachini Bros.

The general idea is that the lower portion represents the earthly life which uplifts gradually to a symbol of the heavenly life, which is the upper portion.

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The official programme of the unveiling of the Cenotaph on November 10, 1929.

The base has the shape of a sarcophagus around which runs a relief panel, having two side groups in the round.

Rising from the lower sarcophagus is a shaft which tapers and merges into a shape suggestive of an urn at the top, round which is a frieze of cherubs playing musical instruments.

Chastity is observed in the figures in the round and the relief panels.

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St George, with his foot resting on the neck of the dead dragon,unbuckles his sword after attaining his objectives.

On two sides of the memorial are groups - one representing a mother and child and the other St George, placed so for the purpose of symmetry - that of the warrior's wife symbolises the protecting of the home, and St George who has done his duty by crushing the evil threatened to our homes.

The mother is seated and has gathered the child in her arms for protection, whilst on her face the expression is of the calm, pure honesty of purpose of the whole of the British Empire.

St George is unbuckling his belt and throwing off his accoutrements, having obtained his objects.

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A close-up view of the dragon's head after it was killed by St George.
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The Mother and Children group by James Gardner.

The relief panels are representative of the warrior starting out from civilian life and going through the various phases of the war - naval, military, nurses, etc.

The Memorial stands on a base of four steps, nine inches each in height and one foot six inches in tread.

It is further heightened by a plinth one foot six inches in height and another nine inches in height. These serve as a platform for the religious services which are held at the Memorial from time to time.

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The relief panel on the side of the sarcophagus.

Rising from this on two sides are panels for the names of the fallen and two bases for groups on the two other sides attached and in front of portions of the actual base of the Memorial.

A band of lettering of suitable wording binds the whole of the base together just below the sarcophagus, suggestive of the ties of the Empire.

From the sarcophagus rises the shaft, pylon shaped, to the urn and culminating point of the memorial.

On two faces is carved a sword, the haft of which is encircled by a wreath. This is to suggest the crusade upon which the fighter went and returned victorious.

On November 13 it was announced that the Eastern Province dug-out of the MOTHs would act as caretakers of the monument.

After the Second World War memorial panels were added to the walls behind the Cenotaph.

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The relief panel on the side of the sarcophagus.

In 1994, sculptor Anton Momberg restored the monument.


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