National flag in Raymond Terrace flying at half-mast

The Australian national flag at half-mast, along with the flagpole dedication plaque and the funeral notice board for a departed veteran from our region.

HAVE you ever passed the War Memorial in Raymond Terrace and wondered why the Australian flag is flying at half-mast on the roundabout at the intersection of William and Port Stephens Streets?

Sadly, the flag has been flying at half-mast on several occasions recently.

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Victor Jones, President of the Raymond Terrace RSL sub-Branch told News Of The Area, “The twelve-metre flagpole on the roundabout is dedicated as the Centenary of Armistice flagpole.”

In a project sponsored by the Raymond Terrace RSL sub-Branch, and jointly funded by the Federal Government and Port Stephens Council, the flagpole was installed in November 2018 and a plaque marking the dedication was installed outside the Clare Castle Hotel.

“This flagpole replaced an old, nine-metre flagpole that had stood on the roundabout for several decades but was no longer being used following the passing of Mr Bill Bobbins, who was a local cricketing identity and member of the RSL sub-Branch,” Mr Jones said.

Living locally, Bill used to raise and lower the flag himself each day for many years.

“The project to replace the flagpole was undertaken to commemorate the centennial of the end of World War I in the Raymond Terrace community.”

When the new flag pole was installed, the RSL sub-Branch hoped to capitalise on the increasing local interest in the military history associated with the town, and promote a greater sense of pride and appreciation of Australia and its proud military history and traditions.

“The central location of the flagpole means that it will always be prominent to locals and visitors in the town.

“It is also a focal point of the vista from the town’s Boomerang Park, down William Street, through the roundabout to the Hunter River.“

Since its installation in 2018, a ‘Flag Party’ of RSL sub-Branch members have raised and lowered the flag each day as a tribute to veterans who enlisted from the local area.

By doing this, the sub-Branch hopes that seeing the flag ceremony will increase public awareness of the service and sacrifice of veterans, both past and present.

“More recently, the sub-Branch has initiated a new protocol: to lower the flag to half-mast on the day of a funeral of a local veteran or RSL sub-Branch member.”

Flags are traditionally flown at half-mast to mark a period of mourning following the passing of a prominent figure or member of a community.

In concert with lowering the flag, the RSL also places two funeral notice boards on the metal railing fence opposite the NAB and the Clare Castle Hotel, which notifies the community of the passing of a local veteran and displays a short precise history of the military service that veteran gave to the Australian Defence Force and the nation.

“So, the next time you see the flag flying at half-mast, you will know that it signifies the loss of another veteran from our region who dedicated a period of their life to the service of our country,” Mr Jones said.

The members of the sub-Branch ask that when you see the flag at half-mast that you please take the time to pause a moment, read the notice board, and let silent contemplation be your offering in tribute to their service and sacrifice.

Lest We Forget.


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