Local history buff commemorated for ‘changing the course of Liverpool’s history’

Liverpool City Council has publicly commemorated local legend John Jewell with a plaque unveiling at Lieutenant Cantello Reserve, Hammondville.

The commemoration followed the 80th anniversary of the death of the park’s namesake 1st Lieutenant George (Leo) Cantello, a member of the United States Army Air Force, during the Japanese submarine attack on Sydney Harbour on 8 June 1942.

The late Mr Jewell, who was four years old at the time of the attack, became instrumental in memoralising the story of 1st Lieutenant Cantello, the only American serviceman to have lost his life on Australian soil defending Australia in World War II.

After taking off from Bankstown Aerodrome in response to the attack, Lieutenant Cantello’s fighter plane crashed near Mr Jewell’s family home in Hammondville which sparked a lifelong effort to ensure this story of sacrifice was not lost.

Mayor of Liverpool Ned Mannoun said Mr Jewell’s story shows how far passion can take someone.

“John researched and uncovered the name of the pilot on that ill-fated mission that day which has ultimately changed the course of Liverpool’s history,” Mayor Mannoun said.

“It is startling to think that if not for the work of John, one of our community’s most treasured stories of sacrifice and bravery, simply wouldn’t exist.”

“I know the community of Liverpool are forever grateful for John’s perseverance in bringing the story of Lieutenant Cantello to the light of day.”

Mr Jewell’s other contributions were celebrated including his strong advocacy for the City of Liverpool and involvement in the District Historical Society.

He oversaw the introduction of the Moorebank Men’s Shed (now merged with the Liverpool Men’s Shed to form the Liverpool District Men’s Shed), where he also served as president, encouraging men to chat in support of their mental health.

“I believe there is a beautiful poetry here that we unveil a plaque in memory of John on the grounds of Lieutenant Cantello Reserve, a memorial he advocated for and maintained over a period of many years,” Mayor Mannoun said.