Baxter memorial to be installed in new year

By ODT | Posted: Monday November 9, 2020

A long-awaited memorial commemorating prominent pacifist Archibald Baxter is set to be installed in Dunedin early next year.

Archibald Baxter Memorial Trust chairman Emeritus Prof Kevin Clements said a contract was about to be signed with a firm for the work, which was expected to start on January 18.

The work should be finished by the end of March and he expected a ceremony to mark its completion would be held in April.

The memorial park, at the intersection of George and Albany Sts, will highlight the plight of conscientious objectors and invite people to consider peace as an alternative to conflict.

The centrepiece will be a rock sculpture depicting a form of punishment inflicted on some objectors.

Mr Baxter, who was born in Dunedin, was subjected to relentless physical abuse and mental intimidation for his position over the course of World War 1, but held firm to his beliefs.

One of the punishments he endured was Field Punishment No 1, which involved being tied to a pole with his hands bound behind his back for hours, in any weather.

Queenstown landscape designer Paddy Baxter designed the park and Arrowtown sculptor Shane Woolridge designed the rock sculpture.

Prof Clements said a few minor changes had been made since the concept was chosen, such as incorporating additional signage, but the design remained essentially the same.

The project had been about 10 years in the making, he said.

In 2014, the trust suggested a memorial be created in Anzac Ave, but siting it in a street where trees were planted to pay tribute to Dunedin’s fallen soldiers was contentious.

The reserve in front of the Otago Museum also fell from favour.

Prof Clements said the George St location would mean plenty of people would see the memorial.

‘‘It will be a very nice addition to Dunedin’s monuments and tourist sites.’’

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