Her name is etched in stone close to the heartbreaking roll-call of brave soldiers who left their idyllic Thirroul homeland and never came home.
But Grannie Riach never went to war.
She didn’t bathe the wounds of her injured countrymen, and she didn’t suffer the agony of losing a loved one in the heat of battle.
What she did was ensure the Thirroul soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War I would never be forgotten.
As a very young man, Thirroul RSL sub-branch vice-president Keith Woodward knew Mrs Margaret Riach, better known around town as Grannie, and remembers her as a determined lady who certainly knew how to run a raffle.
‘‘I remember her well - she was a little woman, bent over,’’ he said.
‘‘She was always collecting money.’’
Her prolific fundraising abilities did not go unnoticed by the Thirroul Progress and Ratepayers Association which, in early 1917, chose Grannie to collect funds for the building of a monument honouring those sent off to fight in the Great War.
Grannie’s late husband had worked in the railways and during the Great Strike of 1917 she collected money for his colleagues.
This effort didn’t go unrewarded, with the workers repaying Grannie’s kindness by holding a social attended by 300 people to help her raise money for the Thirroul monument.
The South Coast Times reported that those who attended danced until 1am, played an exciting tournament of euchre and gave three cheers to Grannie.
Grannie also held frequent raffles, offering such desirable prizes as needleworks, table covers, pillowchams and even a fancy bread cover.
The bank balance for the ‘‘fountain fund’’ slowly grew.
By late 1919, Thirroul’s postmaster Mr Harold Price began collecting the names of enlisted soldiers to be added to the monument.
By the time the foundation stone was laid in October 1919, Grannie had collected the princely sum of £183.
On Sunday, April 25, 1920, the then 71-year-old was given the great honour of unveiling the monument, the event described in The South Coast Times as ‘‘the proudest moment of her life’’.
It now bears her name alongside the soldiers she worked to memorialise. Grannie’s efforts are recounted in a booklet on the history of the World War I memorial created by the Thirroul RSL.