Below the World War I honour rolls at the front of our memorial building is a small plaque, made of the same stone as the memorials on the wall above it. It bears the inscription:
In memory of our friend Robert Martindale. Erected by the Dimboola Returned Soldiers League.
It was decided at a meeting of the Dimboola branch of the Returned Soldiers' League on Friday 11th November 1927 that a memorial tablet be erected to the late Robert Martindale to acknowledge his role in the establishment of the memorial school.
The erecting of a memorial tablet to the late Mr. R. Martindale who was the original mover in the Memorial Higher Elementary School was referred to by the secretary.
The president and members unanimously supported the proposal and it was decided that a memorial tablet be placed at the school in memory of the late Mr. Martindale. The president and secretary were instructed to inspect the building and secure a suitable position for the tablet.
- Dimboola Chronicle, 17th November 1927
By Anzac Day the following year, the tablet had been installed and was to be unveiled.
Wednesday next will commemorate the thirteenth anniversary of Anzac Day and the second on which it has been declared a close holiday. A commemoration service will be held at the Higher Elementary School at 11 am. Mr A. Rodgers will be present and will unveil a memorial tablet to the memory of the late Mr R H Martindale that grand old man in whom every soldier found a sincere friend. His devotion to their cause was never ceasing; and the memorial tablet will be a fitting tribute to a noble character. All returned soldiers are requested to attend at the fire tower at 10.50am and march to the school.
- Dimboola Chronicle, 19th April 1928
A copy of the speech given at the unveiling was printed in the following week's Dimboola Chronicle.
Dimboola Chronicle Front Page Headline, 26th April 1928
Mr Bell introduced the Hon A. S. Rodgers, M.H.R., who unveiled the memorial tablet to the memory of the late Mr Robert Martindale. Mr Rodgers said: President Bell, Mrs Martindale and family, soldiers, ladies and gentlemen, there is no greater honor could have been conferred on me than being entrusted with the privilege of unveiling a memorial to that grand citizen, the late Mr Robert Martindale. I have travelled 600 miles to perform the ceremony, but had it been necessary to cross a continent I would have come. I was associated with the late Mr Martindale during the terrible and trying days of the war. The work he undertook and performed so fearlessly and wholeheartedly was of great magnitude. Never have I seen man perform duties as the way Mr Martindale took the helm in this little town. I commend the soldiers on paying a tribute to this man. I have listened to a wonderful and inspiring tribute paid by a young Australian, Rev Gardner to the deeds of the soldiers, and I was greatly impressed. However there were as many at home who fought as keenly as those in the ranks. No man could be more than 100 per cent, and this the late Mr. Martindale was for the goodwill of those abroad. All possible had been done by him and he took the leadership and never dropped it. Born in Yorkshire, the late Mr. Martindale came in early life to Australia and became a wonderful Australian, setting up a high standard of Australianism. By instinct he was of a democratic turn of mind. He was a people's man and always went forward to build up those institutions which were for the general welfare of the people. He was modest but forceful. Did his work quietly with wonderful zeal and capacity to get others to join without ostentation or force. He remembered how he took the lead in the movement for repatriation, and how, when the work was completed, it was found [that] it had not cost anything and how well it had been done. He was just the character of a man who did his job. To keep his memory green let your minds be the temple in which his work will rest. He left a grand record, and to-day we honor and revive his memory. To his wife, family and relatives it is with pride we mark a spot in this town close to men whom he loved so well. The name of our most worthy citizens who ever drew breath in Dimboola.
The memorial tablet, which is placed underneath the honor roll, and draped with the Union Jack, was unveiled. The inscription reads "In memory of our friend, Robert Martindale. Erected by the Dimboola Returned Soldiers League"
On behalf of the returned men, Mr. Bell thanked Mr. Rodgers for so ably performing the ceremony.
Many beautiful wreaths were laid at the foot of the Honor Roll.
- Dimboola Chronicle, 26th April 1928
This summary was printed in the Dimboola Banner on 24th March 1999, originally published in the 1965 "Outlook".
Tributes to a Great Worker.
Beneath the larger granite slabs of the Honor Roll at the School entrance is a small tablet of the same stone bearing an unusual tribute. It is a tribute by Returned Solders to a man who was not a Returned Soldier, who rendered devoted service to their cause. The inscription reads:
In Memory of Our Friend
Erected by the Dimboola Returned
In a second eulogy of the late Mr. Martindale a writer to the Dimboola "Banner" used these words:
"I say that the magnificent war memorial overlooking the town - the Soldiers' Memorial Higher Elementary School - is as much a memorial to our honored townsman as to the soldiers themselves. This was his great dream of the later years, and when at last that noble ideal was realised, he felt that his work was finished."