For 120 years Frederick Whirlpool, VC, has lain in the Presbyterian cemetery, Windsor, in an unmarked grave. The historic cemetery was consecrated in 1833 and is now in the care of Hawkesbury City Council.
A committee has been established to facilitate the erection of a suitable memorial, marking the life and deeds of Frederick Whirlpool, who lived in the Hawkesbury for half of his 68 years, until his death at McGrath’s Hill, in 1899.
His friend, local merchant, John Dick Smith, arranged Whirlpool’s funeral and ensured that all dignity attended it, although he was the only mourner.
The committee includes, Susan Templeman, MP, Federal Member for Macquarie; Deborah May, historian; Mary Lyons-Bucket, Deputy Mayor; Professor Ian Jack, historian, Sydney University; Nevill Dehn, local historian and representative of the Hawkesbury Historical Society, with Ian Jack; Christine Paine, OAM, former councillor, whose family included John Dick Smith; Margaret Ginnings, facilitator of the Richmond WWII memorial, Bill Nash, Lodge Victoria Cross; and Alan Leek, chair. With a line-up of talented people and with the practical assistance of the Hawkesbury Historical Society, which was founded in 1956, it is to be hoped that our efforts to honour Whirlpool VC, will soon bear fruit. A memorial that is sympathetic to others in the cemetery, in the form of a plinth and obelisk, which should meet with heritage guidelines, is envisaged. The draft inscriptions are:-
In this field
Frederick Whirlpool VC
County Carlow, Ireland
17th July, 1831
24th June, 1899
soldier – constable – teacher
Two sides of the plinth will display the two separate citations for which the Victoria Cross was awarded. The back panel will contain names of contributing organisations that enabled the erection of the memorial. This handsome monument will honour the memory of Frederick Whirlpool VC, educate new generations, and stand as testament to the possibilities of human endeavour.
The first citation reads:-
For gallantly volunteering
on the 3rd of April, 1858, in the attack of Jhansi,
to return and carry away several killed and wounded,
which he did twice under a very heavy fire from the wall;
also, for devoted bravery at the assault of Lohari
on the 2nd of May, 1858, in rushing to the rescue
of Lieutenant Donne,
of the Regiment, who was dangerously wounded.
In this service, Private Whirlpool
received seventeen desperate wounds,
one of which nearly severed his head from his body.
The gallant example shown by this man is considered
to have greatly contributed to the success of the day.
More as the plan develops. Alan