AC Elliot deserves recognition, but at Oxley's expense?

On the march: AC Elliot was a war hero, our longest serving mayor and a community leader. Photo: supplied
On the march: AC Elliot was a war hero, our longest serving mayor and a community leader. Photo: supplied

The Port Macquarie community has reacted strongly against a council decision to remove a monument dedicated to the arrival of John Oxley to the area.

The explorer and surveyor’s team off 16 – including convicts and officers – journeyed overland from the New England, through Walcha and Mount Seaview to camp near Port Macquarie’s Town Beach in 1818.

Port Macquarie will celebrate the bicentenary of Oxley’s journey next year.

Elliot served as mayor of Port Macquarie from 1925 until 1936 and his name is on the Oxley plaque.

For history buffs, Elliot is a war hero, awarded the Military Cross. Serving as mayor was just one aspect to his seemingly endless list of achievements.

Alban Charles Elliot was born on June 7, 1892, the son of Norfolk Island chief magistrate Charles Sinclair Elliot and Florence Louisa Dudley.

AC Elliot enlisted in World War I in September, 1915. Three of his brothers were killed in action across both wars.

Elliot served on the Western Front with the 53rd Battalion 14th Brigade, 5th Austrlaian Division and was promoted to Lieutenant on January 26, 1917.

He was twice wounded in action.

He was awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry for the operations and attack on Polygon Wood in 1917.

At one point in the operation, the battalion was heavily shelled and its medic was unable to tend the several casualties. Elliot stepped in and personally attended to the wounded.

Later, with his commanding officer a casualty, Elliot continued to direct the attack despite being shelled.

According to the AIF military records: 'When the objective was reached, he personally organised and led a party to the old front line for ammunition, this he repeated on two occasions although the enemy were shelling the area through which he had to pass'.

He also organised and led a party to bring in German machine guns and ammunition which were used against the enemy.

Following the war, Elliot moved to Port Macquarie, practising as a solicitor.

He was elected mayor in 1925 and was reelected through to 1936. He is the longest serving mayor. He donated his yearly mayoral allowance to the town band.

War service: AC Elliot served his country with distinction. Photo: supplied

War service: AC Elliot served his country with distinction. Photo: supplied

He was the first president of the forerunner to the RSL; administered surf and football clubs, captained golf, tennis, cricket and fishing clubs and honoured with life membership of several organisations.

A series of surf boats carried his initials 'ACE' for several years.

In 1939 Elliot was appointed president of the NSW Country Rugby League. He enlisted and served in the Second World War and was promoted to captain and then major.

In 1969 Mayor Elliot returned to Port Macquarie where he was presented a Local Government Service award.

He passed away on August 3, 1978.

In his obituary in the Port Macquarie News of Friday September 1, 1978, it was noted: that he was one of the most notable personalities to ever live in Port Macquarie. To see him in action in Port Macquarie, it is easy to see the leadership qualities that won him the Military Cross'.

Bit of history: A series of Port Macquarie Surf Club surf boats were named ACE, in honour of AC Elliot. Photo: supplied

Bit of history: A series of Port Macquarie Surf Club surf boats were named ACE, in honour of AC Elliot. Photo: supplied