The British decreed that WWI soldiers of the Empire be buried where they fell, leading to a wave of memorials in Australia as communities, like those of Gympie and Widgee Shire, wrestled with their grief.
The Prince of Wales-later King Edward VIII-unveiled the Gympie war memorial gates in 1920 in tribute to 167 local men who died. Their names are inscribed, along with those of two locals who died in the Boer War, on large sculpted sandstone pillars facing the street and supporting the ironwork gates.
The gates were designed by a young Brisbane draftsman George Rae who won a design competition organised by the Queensland Institute of Architects on behalf of the Gympie and Widgee District Soldiers' Memorial Fund. AL Petrie and Son undertook the stonework. An unknown blacksmith produced the ironwork.
The gates cost £800, raised through public subscription and input from the Gympie City Council.
The gates, on a laneway between a shop and a hotel, beckon entry to a memorial park beyond on a former saw mill site.
A second set of pillars mirroring the originals bear marble plaques with the leaded names of local men who served in WWII and Vietnam.