DIG IN: Turning of the first sod for the soilder memorial at cottonvale, Lorene Long, Liam McNichol, Callum McNichol, Robin Aiken, John Aiken, Cr Marika McNichol, John Hoffman, Sam Giacca, Mark McNichol, Joe Deveraux, Ray Palmer, Stuart Perrett
DIG IN: Turning of the first sod for the soilder memorial at cottonvale, Lorene Long, Liam McNichol, Callum McNichol, Robin Aiken, John Aiken, Cr Marika McNichol, John Hoffman, Sam Giacca, Mark McNichol, Joe Deveraux, Ray Palmer, Stuart Perrett Liana Walker

Work begins on $1.8 million project

WORK on the settler's memorial statue at Cottonvale officially began at a turning of the sod ceremony on Saturday morning.

Stanthorpe and District Historical Society members were joined by Southern Downs Regional councillor Marika McNichol for the occasion.

Stanthorpe and District Historical Society curator Lorene Long said the statue was unique.

The statue, on the corner of Middleton Rd and the New England Highway, will feature an eight-metre-tall settler, his wife and a stock horse, all in bronze. Surrounding the statue will be an acre and a half of parkland including stumps to sit on and a dining area.

The first stage of the memorial will be completed in time for Remembrance Day in November and the project is expected to be finished by Remembrance Day next year.

The project is estimated to cost $1.8 million, which is to be funded by volunteers and a small grant.

"The people working have provided their own machinery and their own labour," Mrs Long said.

"Almost everybody on the first part of the project is just donating time and equipment and materials.

"Everybody I've told about it who can help has said yes and has turned up in their own way and done their own thing."

Cr McNichol said the work on the memorial showed the importance of volunteers in a community.

"For the people to come here to give so much time and effort and their own expense is amazing," she said.

"It shows people care and I think that's important.

"I'm very proud of the people of Stanthorpe to think about something so momentous and so important."

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