On the 6th December, 2002 local Yamba resident Neville Short donated a unique painting of a gathering held at Lower Southgate – the painting ‘Unveiling the War Memorial’ by E. Short. Descendants of the Short family still reside in Lawrence.
Featured in this very small painting is the Rev. Herbert Ramsey and the Lawrence Platoon Cadets celebrating Empire Day, 1924. It would appear the gathering was increased by the presence of the S.S. Favorite in the background. The ‘Favorite’ would transport the general public from Grafton to Yamba taking approximately 3½ hours each way. This was the general mode of transport and also carried supplies between the two townships.
What is interesting is this memorial was erected before World War 1 had finished and was the first one erected in Australia! Erected by the Lower Southgate relatives and friends of boys who went away, the SS Favorite conveyed the party from Grafton to Lower Southgate; the trip took one hour. Colonel Clarrie Harrison was one of the cadets. Clarrie and Earl Harrison were well known in the area.
The painting had been in the collection of the Port of Yamba Historical Society until it was gifted to Lawrence Museum on Tuesday 22nd June 2021. The donation was made due to the close association between Lawrence and Lower Southgate.
Next time you drive through Lawrence, take a short detour to Lawrence Museum and inspect this amazing piece of artwork.