The war had not even ended when people started to talk about creating a suitable memorial to the men who were fighting overseas. A formal Peace Committee was established in Thames in February 1920, a year later the decision had been made to erect an obelisk and then more time passed while a site was chosen.
A design competition was announced in February 1922 and key donors to the project included Hetheringtons Drapery, A & G Price, Thames Borough Council and Thames County Council. Dunedin architect H McDowell-Smith, who also designed a war memorial at Andersons Bay, Dunedin, appears to have won the competition.
Tenders were called on 10 April 1923 and the memorial was unveiled on ANZAC Day [25 April] in 1925. As part of Thames jubilee celebrations in July 1927 the memorial was floodlit.