DUNCAN Chapman was the first person to step ashore at the battle of Gallipoli and now, 103 years later, the cliffs of the historic battlefield are being recreated in steel for one of Australia's most ambitious war memorials.

Construction has started at Downer's Maryborough Rail facility on the 72 weathered steel columns, some up to nine metres in length, which will form a stylised representation of the cliffs for the $3.2 million Gallipoli to Armistice memorial in Queens Park.

Currently being built by the Queen's Park Military Trail Project Committee, the steel columns were generously donated and shaped by Downer Maryborough.

Downer Maryborough operations manager John Shelford said their contribution was a way of "giving back" to those who served.

"We have fourth generation tradesmen working on site and if we go back to the early days when (the company) was Walkers Ltd, we know for a fact some of the employees back then served for us," he said.

"It's a bit of a pay back to the past employees and we saw this as a great opportunity to do that."

Acting Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour said the project was "vitally important" for Maryborough and the Fraser Coast and therefore ensured as much money as possible was put into the local community.

"On first sight, the memorial focuses on Duncan Chapman, the first man on shore at Gallipoli.

"But it tells a much broader story about the Anzac legend, about Maryborough, about Australia during the First World War and the sacrifices that many men and women across Australia made."

The memorial is expected to open by late July.



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