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Community & Business

15 March, 2023

Nobby war hero honoured in fitting way

Nobby might only be a small town of around 600 people but it has gained a reputation for commemorating its heroes appropriately.

Rudd’s pub is of course famous for its devotion to  the creator of the ‘Dad and Dave’ collection of pioneer yarns, Steele Rudd.

The town also has a museum devoted to Sister Elizabeth Kenny,  famous for her pioneer work treating polio.

Another lesser known memorial, but in the eyes of Nobby residents of 1915, of equal importance, is the memorial in Nobby Cemetery to Private Victor Denton.

Victor Denton was the town’s blacksmith and after Britain’s declaration of war against Germany on 4th August 1914, young twenty year old Victor wasted no time in joining the action by enlisting thirty days later.

As a country boy he no doubt was a skilled horseman and so it is no surprise to see he joined the 2nd Light Horse Regiment.

Private Denton soon found himself on the pebbly beach of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli on 12th May 1915 and, like many others, believed the action against the Turks would be brief and they would soon be drinking beers in the hotels of Istanbul.

His 2nd Light Horse regiment went to Gallipoli without their horses and fought mainly around Anzac Cove and the ferocious defence of Quinn’s Post.

On the 31st  May while fighting in Monash Valley, Victor Denton was shot in the chest and died the same day; he lasted 27 days on the bloody ridges of Gallipoli.

The people of Nobby no doubt were in shock, their young blacksmith dead before his twenty-first birthday.

Private Victor Denton was buried on the slopes of the beautiful Beach Cemetery overlooking Anzac Cove where he is in good company with another soldier in the A.I.F. John Simpson Kirkpatrick; the man with the donkey.

The grave of Private Victor Denton is marked as I J 5 with 22 years old John Simpson Kirkpatrick I F 1.

But the town of Nobby does not give up its heroes lightly and so residents subscribed to a fund to build a memorial to their young blacksmith hero.

Enlisting the services of Bruce Brothers Monumental Masons of Toowoomba, the memorial of concrete and stone is located in the Denton family section of the local cemetery alongside the grave of Victor Denton’s parents. 

The plot is surrounded by a low fence comprising concrete tapered plinths which are joined by a steel rod with the memorial itself resting on a square base with a chamfered top edge. 

From this base projects a short pedestal, also with a chamfered top edge. 

The front face of the memorial has a marble plaque affixed bearing an inscription in memory of Victor Denton in cut and blackened lettering. 

The memorial’s pedestal is surmounted by a broken column with a simple moulded base.

The actual unveiling of the memorial is associated with the famous Dungarees march, as reported in the Warwick Examiner and Times on 20 November 1915. 

When the Dungarees squad arrived at Nobby they were “given a hearty welcome”. 

A procession was then formed and they marched to the cemetery where the Reverend Elliott unveiled the monument to the memory of Private Denton. 

At the unveiling, the ‘Last Post’ was sounded and ‘Nearer my God to Thee’ was sung. 

The Nobby School memorial gates also commemorate those who served and fell during the First and Second World Wars with marble plaques bearing the names to each side of the gate. 

Victor Denton’s name is a proud addition on the gate.

This memorial gate was officially opened in November 1947, on the 50th anniversary of the school.

 It comprises sandstone columns with a single iron gate.

The Nobby Cemetery memorial to Private Victor Denton was quite fittingly the first memorial built in Queensland to honour a First World War soldier.

The young blacksmith may have only lasted for 27 days on the Gallipoli Peninsula but the town of Nobby does not forget its heroes.

 The stone memorial they built is not only a tribute to Victor Denton but also a tribute to the townsfolk of Nobby, who in 1915 refused to let the memory of a popular young man who gave his life for his country fade away.

While tourists flock to Nobby to view the pub’s Steele Rudd memorabilia or visit the Sister Kenny Museum they could do well to find Victor Denton’s memorial in the town’s cemetery because this small town remembers its heroes in a big way.

Whilst in the cemetery, one can also have a look at Sister Kenny’s far more modest memorial as well as many others.

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