HISTORICAL: M'boro memorial makes its mark on history
"WILL they remember me in Australia?"
These were among the final words of a dying Australian soldier in a foreign battlefield more than 100 years ago during World War I.
On Saturday afternoon, Maryborough residents remembered their sacrifice when the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull arrived in Queens Park to open the Gallipoli to Armistice memorial.
Joined by dignitaries representing Britain, New Zealand, Belgium and Turkey, Australian War Museum director Brendan Nelson and senior military officers the multi-million dollar memorial was opened after years of community-driven work.
The new monument, which began with the single statue of Maryborough soldier Duncan Chapman in 2015 has already become known as one of the most unique World War I memorials outside Canberra.
Mr Turnbull, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Fraser Coast mayor George Seymour officially opened the complex with a ribbon cutting ceremony in front of a crowd of hundreds.
"For three years since it was unveiled, Duncan Chapman's statue has stood alone, now it gazes up to the cliffs of Gallipoli, and the task that stood before him and all the Anzacs who struggled ashore that fateful first day," Mr Turnbull said.
"Duncan Chapman is Maryborough's most famous son, and his story inspired this memorial.
"The fruits of their (Anzac's) sacrifice flourish in every corner of our nation, and their memories will live on in this beautiful patch of Queensland."
Tracing the journey of Anzacs through the Great War, the modern memorial includes the whispered stories of soldiers, weathered steel columns rising as high as 8m to represent the cliffs of Gallipoli and ironbark representations of the three first boats to land at Anzac Cove.
Story panels at the memorial site have QR barcodes, allowing attendees to download an audio version of the true tales told at the site.
Motion sensors installed along the path trigger speakers and multi-media boxes, taking visitors on a journey of the Anzacs from Gallipoli through to the Western Front battle theatres.
It complements the existing statue of Maryborough's Duncan Chapman, the first man to set foot on the beach at Gallipoli during the war.
Committee president Nancy Bates said it was a fitting way to remember the sacrifice of Australians during the conflict and to help everyone understand our involvement in the war.
"People can get an overall perspective of events in World War I and also get personal views, often surprising, of men on the front line who wrote so many letters home," she said.
"It's an incredibly moving, sometimes confronting, memorial that's not only meaningful to the people of the Fraser Coast and to Queenslanders but it's also important to us as a nation and to our allies."
The memorial was funded by about $2.8 million from Local, State and Federal Governments.
Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien said the memorial would become something of a "military, history tourist attraction."
"We are very proud, and if you walk through this monument and don't get goosebumps, I think there's something wrong with you," Mr O'Brien said.
Military officers and dignitaries also shared in their praise for the new memorial, including in the lead up to the reveal.
Colonel Chris Austin, vice chair of the Queensland Advisory Committee for the Commemoration of the Anzac Centenary, previously described it as a "living memorial" and a "wonderful tribute to WW1 veterans and those who served throughout history."
At the event, New Zealand Defence Adviser Commodore Ian Mower said the memorial would "stand proud amongst others" as the curtain began to draw on the centenary celebrations of WW1.
"The Military Trail...has done a fantastic job in creating a world-class exhibit that does justice to the memories of all those who have suffered and sacrificed during this period in history," Com Mower said.
"I know the stories of the Anzac soldiers told here will resonate equally as strong across the Tasman as they do here in Maryborough."
Ms Bates told the Chronicle a lot of detailed planning went into the memorial opening, and she was thrilled to see it "went like clockwork".
"Seeing the memorial open means it's the end of a long job, it's a great achievement by the whole city, and it's going to pull people from all over Australia," Ms Bates said.