Members of Swan Hill Lodge and Tresco Lodge proudly unveiled a cenotaph in Lake Boga on ANZAC Day, 25 April, 2015.
Joined by Freemasons Foundation Chairman Andre Clayton, members of the Lake Boga Lions Club were excited to see the monument, finally paying tribute to the history of the town and its direct involvementduring WWII. Lake Boga had been selected to accommodate the Repair Depot for thePBY’s or Catalina aeroplanes, that were under threat from the Japanese.
Around 700 service personnel plus 300 female servicewomen too kresidence in the sleepy town in North West Victoria and proceeded tobuild the main Catalina Service Depot for the Pacific region. This made thevillage really hum, enormous hanger buildings were built to camouflagethe planes while being serviced, and underground bomb proof concretebunkers were built to house a secret communications base for wartimeradio contact.
As WWII finished however, the Depot was de-commissioned, and the aeroplanes were broken up and distributed to local farmers for a myriadof uses; pig-pens, chook houses and so on. The whole place gradually fellinto disrepair, and all that survived over the years were concrete mooringblocks in the Lake and the concrete communications bunker.
During the 70s, after consideration was made to restore a Catalinaaeroplane for historical purposes, the Catalina Museum project commenced. Over many years of painstaking efforts to retrieveabandoned parts, a Catalina aeroplane was created, a lick of paint appliedand concrete pads put down for it to sit on. With a roof now overhead,and unique equipment and uniforms collected, the final touch was atheatrette, and a plaque erected in memory of those who were stationedat the Depot in WWII and lost their lives. Many Lodges and individual Freemasons have visited this world classMuseum since its inception and by most reports, all have come awayimpressed.
In 2014, Freemasons Victoria Grand Master Hillel Benedykt Deputy GrandMaster Don Reynolds, visited Catalina Museum, and noticed that LakeBoga, for some reason had never had a ‘town’ Cenotaph. Upon a successful funding application the Lake Boga Lions Club,Swan Hill Lodge and Tresco Lodge, a Cenotaph marking the historicalsignificance of the town was unveiled on the Centenary of Anzac Day, 25April 2015.
Joining many visiting members, the Chairman of the now Freemasons Foundation, Bro. Andre Clayton attended the event and presented acheque for the Foundation’s proportion of the Cenotaph.