In the centre of the Crypt stands the Father and son sculpture created to honour the courage and sacrifice of 2 generations of Victorians who served and died in the First and Second World Wars. It is symbolic of the service of many Victorian families, in which the father served in the First World War (1914-18) and the son in the Second World War (1939-45). Father and son was unveiled in 1968 by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Rohan Delacombe. The sculpture was created by Raymond Ewers. The inscription on the sculpture reads:
These figures of father and son honour the courage and sacrifice which links two generations of Victorian Service men and women who served in the World Wars 1914-1918 and 1939-1945.
In both wars fathers, sons and brothers enlisted together and many of the First World War veterans re-enlisted in the Second World War. The 2 wars were only 20 years apart.
The Permanent Army in 1939 was a very small organisation and without these veterans it would have been difficult to raise the 2nd Australian Imperial Force. Most unit commanders had seen active service in the First World War. It was not until fairly late in the Second World War that Permanent Army soldiers could be released to serve overseas.
Father and son portrays the uniforms worn by First World War and Second World War soldiers. The First World War soldier is in the battledress worn by troops who fought in France. He wears cloth puttees over shorter trousers and bound down to the ankle boots. The same style boots and steel helmet were still being used in the Australian Army until approximately 1969. The Second World War soldier is wearing the uniform of the troops who fought in the jungles of the Pacific. He wears canvas American-style gaiters replacing the puttees, and the iconic slouch hat.
Father and son 1968
by Ray Ewers
Reviewed 21 September 2021