Navy League in Victoria established in May 1938 a VADM
Creswell bronze bust on a Tasmanian red granite memorial in Melbourne's
St Kilda foreshore Catani Gardens.
It suffered from vadalism over time and the bronze bust was removed
c1980 and has not been able to be located.
CMDR John M Wilkins RFD* RANR President of the Navy League of
Australia Victoria Division for the last 14 years had this situation
drawn to his attention on three occasions but as the local St
Kilda Council, now Port Phillip Council, in whose care this memorial
was placed, were the responsible authority, we did not, at that
stage, know how to proceed.
In mid 2010 the problem of the missing Creswell bust was raised
again by Doug Jenkin, from the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron
and a member of the Navy League. It was considered that 2011,
as the RAN "Royal" Centenary year, we should advertise a $500
reward for the finding of the missing bust.
By late November 2010 there was no response to the media advertising.
CMDR Wilkins discussed this result with a member of the Creswell
family, Mrs Rosemary Creswell, a friend of the Navy League and
a supporter of our annual Creswell Oration founded by the Navy
League of Australia Victoria Division in 2001 to celebrate the
Australian Navy's Foundation on 1st March 1901.
Mrs Rosemary Creswell (dau of VADM Sir Roy Dowling RAN - CNS c1958)
produced a family photograph of the Creswell Memorial and produced
another photograph taken of a gold painted plaster bust held by
the Wardroom Museum at HMAS Creswell the naval College in Jervis
Bay. The two photos indicated HMAS Creswell's plaster bust was
identical to the image of the missing St Kilda Memorial bustand
National Library of Australia digitised newspaper records revealed
that Wallace Anderson, from Hawthorn, Victoria, was the artist
sculptor of the original bronze bust.
Wallace Anderson, who lived not far from the Creswell family,
may have gifted his plaster bust to them for the newly resited
HMAS Creswell Naval College. The College had painted it gold,
protecting its surface, and there it remained in RANC for over
fifty years. Time was short for we were in the first week of December
2010 and the Christmas period would cause delays if we wanted
contact those who could assist. Two letters were drafted by the
Navy League and signed by Mrs Rosemary Creswell and forwarded
to HMAS Creswell CO and thew Director of the Navay Heritage Collection
in sydney. They responded immediately and the bust was transported
down to HMAS Cerberus Naval Musaeum. Naval Museum Curator W.O.
Martin Grogan OAM RANR, from whom we would be able to arrange
access for our selected foundry (Meridian Foundry) to produce
a silicon rubber mould and two new, identical to the original,
With this advice the Navy league approved of a Creswell Memorial
Restoration Sub-Committee being formed and the following agreed
to comprise this subcommittee.
Chairman: CMDR John M Wilkins RFD* RANR.
RADM John Lord AM RAN,
CDRE Jim Dickson AM RAN,
CMDR Graham Harris RFD RANR, Federal President Navy League of
Prof Richard Divall AO OBE ,
Doug Jenkin, Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron (RMYS) and Navy League
Elizabeth Sevior (VADM Sir W.R. Creswell's Grand-daughter) ,
Rosemary Creswell (VADM Sir Roy Dowling's dau),
The committee immediately resolved that an additional bust be
prepared and gifted to HMAS Creswell to celebrate the RAN "Royal"
The committee raised just over $19,000 for the project. Five donors
contributed to the fund the major donor being the very generous
support from the Vera Moore Foundation. The Navy League of Australia
Victoria Division called tenders, and issue orders for the Busts
and the bronze plaques and plan the associated Presentation Reception
in the Harbour Room of the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron.
Chief Of Navy VADM Ray Griggs AM CSC RAN agreed to unveil
the Restored Creswell Memorial on Monday 5th September 2011 at
1430 in the presence of a small RAN parade, and
o 27 CRESWELL Family Members -Janet
Sevior, Mr Peter Creswell, Ms Kate Creswell, Creswell children
(6), Elizabeth Sevior (VADM Sir William R Creswell's Gdau), Sevior
dau (2), Mr Bill Creswell, Mrs Robbie Creswell, Ms Belinda Creswell,
Mrs Jan Creswell, Mr Chris Creswell, Ms Joanna Creswell, Mr John
Love, Mr Mark Creswell, Mrs Madeline Love, Mrs Rosemary Creswell
(VADM Sir Roy Dowling's dau), Ms Penny Creswell, Creswell children
Others attending were -
o Capt David Garnock CSC RAN
o CMDR Shane Moore CSM RAM Director Naval Heritage Collection
o CMDR Graham Harris RFD Federal President Navy League of Australia
o CMDR John M Wilkins RFD* RANR - President NLA Victoria Division
o The Hon Hugh Delahunty - State Minister for Veterans Affairs
The Hon Ms Sue Pennicuik MLC - Southern Metropolitan Region
o Mr Martin Foley MP - Member for Albert Park
o Cr Frank O'Connor - Acting Mayor City of Port Phillip
o Cr Janet Bolitho - City of Port Phillip
o Mr Denis Baguley - CEO Shrine of Remembrance
o Ms Jean McAuslan - Shrine of Remembrance
o Leut-Commander Roger Blythman RFD - VPres NLA Vic Div; Vera
o Katrina Cole - Vera Moore Foundation
o Ian Morrison - Vera Moore Foundation
o Prof. Richard Divall AO OBE
o CDRE RMYS Linda Goldsmith - Royal Melbourne yacht Squadron
o Mr Will Golsby - Chief of Staff to The Hon Hugh Delahunty, Minister
for Veterans' Affairs
o Capt Ken Kinloch - President MN&MM Osborne Park Association
another 100 official guests.
The bust was unveiled and all adjourned to the RMYS Reception
where the Bust for HMAS Creswell was presented to the CO HMAS
Creswell and Chief of Navy Vice Admiral R Griggs AM CSC RAN.
The Navy League of Australia, Victoria Division presented several
Naval books for the College library.
HMAS Creswell mounted their Creswell bust on a specially
constructed timber plinth supplied by the Naval Heritage Centre.
Creswell Memorial Restoration 2011 project was initiated by and
led by the President and members the Navy League of Australia,
Victoria Division with the enthusiastic co-operation of Creswell
family members Mrs Rosemary Creswell and Mrs Elizabeth
Sevior, ensured this project was a success. Their unstinting
support and access to family photographs in early December 2010,
led us to the artist's original 1938 plaster bust at HMAS Creswell.
The public response was outstanding resulting in Channel 2 Stateline
covering the early to final stages of the project which was shown
on Ch2 Friday 9 September at 1930.
This was the Navy League in Victoria's contribution towards the
RAN's "Royal" Centenary year 2011.
Commander John Wilkins OAM RFD* RANR